Breakfast Nachos

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Breakfast Nachos
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHLIblAMc0E

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
8 large eggs
6 tablespoons milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
Half a 13-ounce bag corn tortilla chips
6 ounces freshly grated Cheddar (about 2 cups)
6 ounces freshly grated Monterey jack cheese (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup salsa, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 small avocado, diced
4 tablespoons sour cream, thinned with 2 tablespoons water
Hot sauce, for serving

Directions
Special equipment: heavy-duty aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty foil, shiny-side up. Spray evenly with cooking spray. Lightly beat the eggs, milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 6 grinds of pepper in a medium bowl and set aside. Cook the bacon, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to break the bacon apart as it cooks, until golden brown and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a small paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the skillet with 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in it. Pile half the chips on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle half the Cheddar, half the Monterey jack cheese and half the cooked bacon over the top. Create a second layer with the remaining chips, Cheddar, Monterey jack and bacon. Bake until the cheese is completely melted, about 7 minutes. While the nachos are baking, add the eggs to the pan and put over low heat. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula, until the eggs are set but still moist, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve the nachos on the hot sheet pan or transfer to a serving platter. Top with the warm eggs, salsa, cilantro, avocado and a drizzle of sour cream. Serve with hot sauce and a side of salsa.

opyright 2017 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Is buying or selling a home on your list of New Year’s resolutions?

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It’s hard to believe that the holidays have come and gone and 2018 has begun. Is buying or selling a home on your list of New Year’s resolutions? If so, here are a few need-to-know predictions for the year to come. 

New construction properties will continue to boom in 2018, as builders meet hungry demand from buyers—particularly Millennials seeking starter homes. Likewise, design trends will cater toward aging Baby Boomers looking to downsize, as well as young parents looking to settle in design-savvy yet family-friendly properties. On the mortgage front, the President’s choice for the new Fed Chair was par for the course, which means historically low mortgage interest rates will likely remain in the same ballpark through mid-2018. 

No matter what your resolutions are, the real estate market is at a full gallop—with no signs of slowing anytime soon. To stake your claim by buying or selling in 2018, connect with us today to learn where you stand and how high to aim in the year to come.

Five No-Regrets Buyer Strategies

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In real estate, "the one that got away" stories get told and retold, usually with little satisfaction to the teller.

The real estate you didn't buy, but still wish you had, can weigh heavily on your mind and may even top your "Big Regrets List."

Every piece of real estate, vacant or otherwise, is unique. Once a property is sold, searching for its exact match is fruitless. Compromise becomes key.

Here's Five No-Regrets Buyer Strategies to spare you dreaming about a property you missed out on:

#1. View When You Can Buy: There's a whole group out there who casually visited an open house for a number of reasons but who were not ready to buy. When the property proved to be "it" — their dream home — and they could not buy it, missing out haunted future home searches. View homes when your finances are in place and you can put in an offer, just in case the open house you visit is the "one."

#2. Buy Before The Market Turns: When real estate prices are down or stalled, jump in. Your purchasing power goes further. Those who wait to see whether the market will come back or that a neighborhood will catch on can find themselves squeezed out of properties they could have afforded during the slump. Real estate professionals have been tracking prices and value longer than you have, so talk to them about where opportunity lies for you now.

#3. Buy The Abutting Condo Unit: If noise is an issue, buying the unit over yours can mean quieter living while expanding your home into a two-level delight. If you'd like to widen your terrace and add interior space in the process, consider purchasing an abutting unit. Before you select a condominium complex, check out rules on combining units to be sure you know your options. Contractors can tell you which approach makes sense and project costs. Keep an eye on what happens around you.

#4. Buy The Abutting Property: Keep in touch with the neighbors whose properties surround yours, so you act quickly when someone decides to sell. Protect your view by buying the vacant lot across the street; protect the mature trees edging your property by buying that land; protect your mutual driveway or other access by purchasing that abutting property; protect your solar rights before a new owner builds a sunshine-blocking monster home. Anticipation is a key talent in real estate ownership. It's not only what's happening now that should occupy owner's thoughts, but what could happen next to upset their current use and peace of mind.

# 5. Investigate That Amazing Property: Do you have a special lot or recreational property that you have always admired? Is there a house or condominium unit that you feel would suit you and your family beautifully? If the property you love is suddenly listed, act just as quickly to get your real estate professional working for you. You may have even put this expert on notice in case that property comes on the market. If you have your eye on a property that's not listed, tell your real estate professional and they'll approach the owner and get the ball rolling for you. Sometimes, this proactive approach nets buyers a dream home without having to search the market.

The ultimate strategy to ensure you get the real estate you want is to put in an offer!

That's the crucial task that real estate professionals take responsibility for by asking a buyer to put in an offer when they show interest in a property.

If you don't make it to the offer stage, that real estate may be a property that was never within your grasp in the first place.

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What To Do When Your Home Isn't Selling

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When sellers start the home-selling process, no one wants to think "What would happen if my home doesn't sell?" But before you panic, recognize that there are many things that you can do so you don't wind up in that position.

Tip 1: Understanding the real estate market and the value of your home will help you avoid this dilemma. The first key point is to get educated about the market. Read your newspapers, online real estate sites, and consult with the best experts in real estate for your area to determine the sales price.

While all that may seem basic, you'd be surprised how many sellers rely on emotion to dream up a selling price for their home. Some have done little, if any, research on even their own neighborhood. Instead, their strong ties to their homes cause them to imagine that their home should sell for the price they want. Or they base the selling price on how much they owe which is, of course, of no significance to buyers. 

Tip 2: Fix up your home. Most buyers don't want to purchase a big list of must-do fixes in order to live in the home they just bought. Yet, some sellers think that it's a waste to spend money on a home that they're moving out of soon. That's quite a predicament. Both sides have valid points but buyers might be in a stronger position. The seller wants out and if the home is a mess, many buyers will simply move on to the next best house. 

Yet, if a buyer wants it badly enough, he/she might agree to purchase your home but it's guaranteed you'll take a financial hit as the buyer will want to discount the price for the problems that need fixing. In the end, you might have to fix the issues before the sale anyway. So, starting with a house that is in relatively good order is the best way to begin. Read some of my other columns to see which renovations give a good return.

Tip 3: If you need to sell your home, don't pull it off the market because you think the season isn't right. Buyers who need to buy a home will keep hunting through all the seasons. There may be some slow times but if people need a house, they'll keep looking even in the unlikely times. 

Tip 4: Consider incentives. Yes, you can make your home more appealing by tossing in some incentives. It's best to speak with your REALTOR® about which incentives are best for you to offer. Even practical incentives can help get buyers to your home to view it. These incentives can help encourage the buyer to move forward, especially if other challenges arise. 

Tip 5: Stage your home. This is not the same thing as fixing up your home. Fixing up your home includes daily maintenance and repairs. Staging your home involves using experts to make your home showroom-ready–like a model home. I know you might say that all your friends tell you that you have fantastic taste but, trust me, if you're serious about selling your home, then it's worth at least having a consultation with an expert in the industry. 

Here's why: They are trained to stay on top of the trends that have mass appeal. They also offer a fresh set of eyes on your home. They might easily point out something that you never saw before because you've been living in your home for a long time. They will look at your home from an “outsider's” perspective and that's exactly what you need.

Taking the time to, at least consult with experts, allows you to gain knowledge and information about your home and the market place. What you do with that is up to you, but it may just be the difference between a For Sale sign and a Sold sign hanging outside your home.

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The New Tax Plan: Real Estate Winners and Losers

We have all heard a lot about the new tax plan, which was approved and sent to President Trump to be signed on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Depending on where your politics lie and your individual financial situation, you may have a positive or negative take on the tax bill. But how does it impact real estate? That also depends on a few things, like where you are buying a house, how much money you have, and what you intend to do with it.

"The new tax plan has been framed as a deathblow to the American dream by some real estate professionals and groups, who warn of falling home prices, a new generation trapped in renting, and an exodus of residents from the highest-cost cities and states," said Realtor.com. "But are these fears surrounding the new, lower cap on mortgage interest deduction - and the incentive for taxpayers not to use it - overblown? Or are there indeed big repercussions to come? That all depends on whom you ask - and where they live."

We're breaking down the winners and losers as it relates to real estate.

Everyone: Winners-ish

The mortgage deduction has been among the most talked-up portion of the tax bill, especially in relation to the standard deduction. The new tax code doubles this deduction; new amounts are $12,000 for individual filers and $24,000 for married couples who file jointly. On the surface, this seems like great news. However, the elimination of other deductions that formerly incentivized itemization may mean more tax filers go the standard route. So, is that a bad thing? 

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, most taxpayers - as many as two-thirds - don't itemize their tax bills anyway, which means they aren't claiming the deductions that are available to them.

"On a scale of 1 to 10 on if interest deductibility is going to have a big impact on housing, it's a 2," Ken Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, told Realtor.com. "It's not clear that it will hurt housing. But it is clear that it's not going to help."

According to the New York Times, "Today, a little under half of American homes are worth enough to justify itemizing mortgage interest and property taxes. Under the tax legislation, that figure would fall to close to 14 percent.

The new limit on property tax deductions makes the "to itemize or not to itemize" conversation even more muddy.

"Can I still deduct my state and local taxes? Up to a point, and you'll have to make a choice," said CBS News. "Filers will be able to write off the cost of state and local taxes, up to $10,000. And they must choose from among sales, income and property taxes for the deduction, instead of being able to deduct all local taxes."

This is most relevant to those who live in "states with high income and property taxes," said the Motley Fool. "Whether or not state and local taxes (SALT) should be deductible has been a hot button issue in this year's tax debate. The GOP's final bill allows taxpayers to deduct only up to $10,000 of state and local property taxes ($5,000 for married taxpayers filing a separate return). Under current tax law, there is no limit on how much state or local taxes can be deducted from your federal taxes. The state and local tax deduction is important because it is frequently one of homeowners' largest deductions outside mortgage interest. As it stands today, the mortgage interest tax deduction primarily benefits people who incur substantial mortgage interest on a residence in a state or municipality with relatively high income and property taxes. That's because the mortgage interest tax deduction only matters if your total deductions exceed the standard deduction."

Luxury buyers: Could see a hit

At one point, there was talk that the bill was going to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, sending industry experts into a what-if tailspin. The $750,000 cap - it was previously $1 million - on the mortgage interest deduction means luxury buyers could see a pinch.

"Under the new tax plan, the deduction would be limited to $750,000 of indebtedness starting with the 2018 tax year," said The Motley Fool. "However, filers who have mortgages issued before the Dec. 15, 2017, cutoff would be grandfathered in, and will still be able to deduct interest on up to $1 million of mortgage-related indebtedness." 

First-time buyers: Mostly unaffected depending on price point

Those who are just buying a new home or who recently have may not feel any pain if their home price is under $750,000 - the cap for the home mortgage interest deduction on the new tax bill.

"The vast majority of new homeowners won't be affected, as the median home price is nowhere near $750,0000," said Realtor.com. "The median list price is $270,000 nationally. Additionally, "Existing homeowners will be grandfathered into the previous deduction limit. So the new cut is expected to affect only about 1.3% of new mortgages. These are likely to be awarded to the wealthiest homeowners, who can at least theoretically afford the cuts, and those living in the most expensive parts of the country."

Home equity loan lovers - Losers unless you use the equity for your home

The tax bill will require greater scrutiny from homeowners looking to use their home equity. Gone is the ability to use it however how want it and get a write off - currently, you can deduct the interest on as much as $100,000. Use your home equity line of credit (HELOC) to finance a car or a vacation under the new plan, and you will no longer be able to deduct the interest.

Real estate investors: Winners

Some of the real winners of the new tax plan are investors, who are already able to write off "all the expenses of owning and running a rental because the properties are considered a business," said CNBC. "The interest on those mortgages, along with repair and management costs, are deducted from the income the property produces. Investors are only taxed on that income, so by reducing it, the investment acts as a tax shelter." This is unchanged by the new bill.

"The tax plan could, however, drive increased demand for single-family rentals because it will reduce the tax benefits of homeownership. The proposal could eliminate the deduction for property taxes as well as lower the limit on the mortgage interest deduction. That would hit all homeowners who itemize and especially those owners of higher-cost properties in expensive locations. That, in turn, would benefit landlords."

There will also be a benefit to investors of real-estate investment trusts, who "will have a smaller tax bill on dividends with the new Republican tax plan," said the The Wall Street Journal. "The tax plan features a deduction for pass-through businesses - income derived from commercial activities that their owners or shareholders pay on their personal income taxes. That deduction includes the income that flows to REIT investors through dividends - mainly from rent or mortgage interest - but not the capital gains secured when properties are sold."

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Purple Power: 2018 Color Of The Year

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Seeing a whole lot of purple recently? It's not an homage to Prince. It's Pantone's Color of the Year for 2018, and it's about to be everywhere.

Pantone, the world's leading color authority, typically sets off trends with its annual color choice. So expect fashion and home décor to soon be wrapped in PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a color choice they call "a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade (that) communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future." 

And you just thought it would look pretty in the bedroom.

"Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now," they said. "The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own."

In color theory, purple is recognized for its "mystic and royal qualities," and is a soothing color that inspires creativity and "calms the mind and nerves," said Sensational Color.

That makes it a good choice for just about any space in the house, especially if you're trying to stand out, since "enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance," said Pantone.

As designlike puts it, you can "use the psychological effects of color purple to create a luxurious and expensive environment to your home. "If it has a bluish shade, it can be serene and calm and gives an air of mystery. Reddish shades attract more attention and dominate the room. Purple color has a long reputation of royalty and power."

Architectural Digest called Ultra Violet "a sort of thematic continuation of Greenery, the 2017 selection meant to evoke ideas of revival and renewal," and said that Ultra Violet "symbolizes the sort of mindfulness and boundary-pushing that ultimately propels each of us - and the world at large - forward." They sought to learn more about the inspiration behind the color choice and how to use it at home from Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

It has an ability "to play nice with everything from grays and taupes to pastels and metallics (depending on your tolerance for boldness)," she said. "In addition to offering tranquil lighting hues, Ultra Violet will also work well alongside other purples within floral pieces, or in decorative dining accents like candles, plates, or glassware."

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10 Hot Trends For Your Home In 2018

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Starting to think about making changes to your home? The new year is, not surprisingly, a popular time to try on new trends or make overdue updates. Before you hit the paint store or buy those new kitchen cabinets, take a look at what industry experts are predicting will be some of the hottest home trends for 2018.

Brass

Brass has been showing up in kitchens, baths, and lighting for a few years, but homeowners who were hesitant to take the leap can feel more confident next year. Brass accents are expected to be huge for 2018.

The end of the all-white kitchen?

It's been the dominant interior trend for several years now, with white cabinets, white subway tile, and white quartz or marble countertops dominating kitchen design. But, next year, don't be afraid to add a little color. Everyone will be doing it.

"Houzz says white will always be a classic color for kitchen design, but homeowners are expected to throw in bits of color, especially other neutrals like gray and blue," said inman. "In order to add a little warmth to such a cool palette, designers are ditching painted cabinets for warm wood tones, such as mahogany."

Mindfulness

Last year, hygge made a splash, bringing "the Danish concept of finding contentment in cosiness" to the home," said The Independent. While we're not quite ready to get rid of this homey trend, a new one is burgeoning: Ikigai. Will this lifestyle concept from Japan "help us live our best lives?"

The central principle of Ikigai is about finding purpose in life, and covers everything from a mindfulness surrounding daily tasks and goals to social connections to what we buy—and keep—in our home.

Wabi-Sabi

Of course, don't fear that following Ikigai means you have to be perfect. If you also follow the principle of wabi-sabi, "the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection," said Country Living, you can relax your mind and enjoy your surroundings without needing everything to look just so. "In home design, this translates to handmade or hand-painted items including rough linens and pottery. The result? A deeply personal, organic aesthetic."

Into the purple

Ultra Violet, a rich, dark purple, is Pantone's new 2018 color of the year, so if you're a fan, you'll have lots of options for incorporating it into your home in 2018.

Lavender

If Ultra Violet is too dramatic for you, there are other options within the purple family that designers say will be hot for 2018. "Millennial pink is still around and I still love it, but it's morphing into lavender and lilac," Nancy Fire, creative director of HGTV HOME, Design Works International and Studio NYC Design told House Beautiful. "People were sarcastic about millennial pink at the beginning, but it's being used to bring out beautiful, soft tones with accents that are deeper."

The end of gray? In other very important color news: "Beige and brown are back," said Gates Interior Design. "If you never got around to embracing the grey trend, well guess what? You're back in!"

A sink to remember

Popularized in large part by HGTV's Chip and Joanna Gaines, the farmhouse sink has earned superstar status in the kitchen. But, they have mostly been stainless steel. Not so in 2018. Houzz predicts "warmer hues and grittier textures," with "concrete, stone, copper and granite composite sinks in darker hues of gray, bronze or black."

Circles

Geometric shapes aren't going anywhere, but we may be seeing more than linear shapes next year. "Hard geometrics are going to be huge, and I think circles are the new triangle," interior designer Genevieve Gorder told House Beautiful. "You can start small with accent pillows or dive in with graphic wallpaper.

Non-linear shapes are also showing up in other areas, like these curvy couches.

Standout lampshades Make a little, no-commitment update by addressing your lampshades. "White drum lampshades, begone," said My Domaine. Anna Brockway, co-founder of Chairish, told them, "We're seeing strong interest in pleated, patterned, and even wicker lampshades. This is a great way to get a sophisticated, decorated look and bring freshness to existing lighting pieces."

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Save Money On Your Next Move

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Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you. There's no way around it. Right? Well, actually, there may just be a way to make it not quite so painful. A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs. Here are eight ways to save money on your move and move in.

1. Don't take it all with you

Furniture you're no longer in love with or appliances like washers and dryers or the fridge you have in the garage can be a pain to move. You can potentially save money (and time and hassle) by including them in your home sale. First-time buyers or someone moving from out of state may appreciate your old stuff far more than you, and you don't have to pay to haul it to your next place.

2. Leave the flat screen

If you have a mounted flat screen TV that's at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind too. The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving it might not be worth it. Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so it's a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.

3. Negotiate everything

If you've been looking for a house or have bought one before, you're probably already aware of closing costs. But you might not be aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender.

"Shop around before choosing a mortgage lender, but don't stop there," said Bankrate. "When you receive your Loan Estimate the negotiation hasn't ended." This itemized list of estimated closing costs includes lender's fees as well as items such as appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.

"The lender or broker charges some fees, and third parties charge others. The first step is to find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees. Don't guess. Ask the lender or broker."

Bankrate advises that while "some items are non-negotiable: taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, prorated interest and reserves," negotiating on others that can "be waived or reduced" can save you money."

4. Barter for services

Need a handyman and have appliances or furniture you're getting rid of? You just might be able to make a deal. Ask around for referrals and then introduce a barter system into the equation during your first conversation. You might be surprised what you can get for what you've already got.

5. Move Smart

Once you're out of college, or maybe out of your first post-college apartment, thinking about renting a U-Haul and moving yourself (or with a few good friends) seems less than desirable. But if you're willing to sweat a little (ok, a lot) you can save a bundle. Just remember two important things to entice and thank your friends: Pizza. And beer.

If you don't want to do the whole thing on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a hybrid move: 

  • Do the packing and unpacking yourself 
  • Have everything on one floor. Stairs can add considerably to the cost of a move.
  • Pare down. Maybe you don't need to bring all that stuff with you. Selling it will earn you a few bucks and save you a few more.

6. Consider moving and storage hybrid options

A company like PODS or U-Pack might be a solution for you if you need self storage wrapped into your move. Essentially, the company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself. They then pick it up and move it for you. You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in. This type of move can cost up to 35 percent less than traditional movers, but keep in mind you will be doing the labor - just not the driving.

7. Take advantage of special offers

Move-in offers for cable, Internet, and phone service can save you a lot of money. But they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line. Look out for special limited-time offers - one-year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.

8. Don't rush the renos

Chances are, after you move in, you're going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to refi, redo your lawn, and apply for 72 different credit cards. In what seems like an endless pile of junk mail will be some special offers for new homebuyers, but they might not arrive for a month or more. Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and window coverings, home furnishing companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients. If you're planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.

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Holiday Gift Must-Buys From HomeGoods

Truth be told, it's not hard to find a reason to go to HomeGoods. But, ever since we heard that the company is continuing to pay workers at Puerto Rico stores (along with Marshalls and TJ MAXX) that remain closed, we're doing as much of our holiday shopping as possible there. Thankfully, finding thing to purchase is not a challenge (not purchasing every one of them for yourself is!).

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HomeGoods a holiday bonanza right now. We're talking shelf upon shelf and table upon table of every holiday item you can imagine. Wreaths. Santa figurines. Holiday-scented candles. Ornaments. Reindeers. Trees of every size, color, and texture you can imagine. And that's just the themed stuff. For your gift-giving pleasure, we've rounded up a list of 10 holiday must-haves for teachers, neighbors, colleagues, friends, family, and, of course, yourself.

Choose your Santa. Any Santa (or tree or bunny). Prices start at just $6.99.

Have a name-brand fan in your life? A festive tablecloth from Kate Spade is just $24.99, and colorful mugs are $3.99 each.

Oven mitts and kitchen towels may not be what you think about when you think hostess gifts, but you will when you see their cute assortment of themed items, ranging in price from $5.99 to $9.99.

Don't forget the little ones. Stuffed animals start at just a few bucks.

You might not have explored HomeGoods' food section, but you definitely should, especially at this time of year. You can find great baskets perfect for your fave foodie, exotic jams, crackers, and gourmet sweets if you'd rather make your own, and items like this $9.99 trio of hot chocolates that you may just want to buy 10 of.

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Tips For Selling Your Home In The Winter

#1 Keep the house warm.

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While you don't have to keep the heat on all the time, keep the house warm during showings. You don't want people shivering while they look through the house. Set the thermostat to at least 70 degrees -- whether you'll be in the house or not.

#2 Trim the outdoor foliage.

Remove snow from shrubs and trees so that potential buyers don't get wet as they walk up the sidewalk to your home. Brush off snow, prune the tree limbs and trim the hedges as needed. You can even hire a tree service to do this for you if you're strapped for time. While your lawn is dormant this time of year, you can at the very least make it look well maintained to give buyers a sense of what it looks like during the spring and summer. You can also display photos in your entryway of how your home looks outside during the greener months.

#3 Handle winter conditions.

If you have ice and snow on your driveway and sidewalk, you need to take care of it way in advance of showings. Clear ice and snow with shovels and salt, so that your exterior looks nice and safe to buyers. It will also increase the aesthetic quality of your home to buyers and keep you from getting sued by a buyer who falls or slips. If you have particular trouble with ice and snow, you can call a snow removal service to do it for you.

#4 Show off the fireplace.

If you have a fireplace, you should showcase it as part of your home's aesthetic appeal. A gas fireplace is easy to turn on before a showing, and it adds natural beauty to your home -- not to mention warmth. A wood-burning fireplace is a bit harder to maintain, because you can run out of firewood. So you need to time the lighting just right before the showing. You also need to make sure the chimney is in good condition, so have it cleaned and checked by a fireplace professional ahead of a showing to avoid any problems.

#5 Add comfort to your home.

There are other steps you can take to make your home more comfortable and inviting during the winter months. Focus on small improvements to your home like:

  • Adding blankets to your couch
  • Turning back the comforter on the bed
  • Baking a pie or cookies for the smell
  • Lighting some candles
  • Turning on some relaxing music

#6 Make sure your home is well lit.

Since winter takes away a lot of sunshine, you need to utilize light bulbs and other forms of lighting. Outside lights, security lights, candles, LED lighting -- every bit of lighting is crucial in the interior and exterior. You want all lights on when buyers are walking through your home -- don't focus on your electricity bill right now. You also want to make as much use of natural lighting as possible. Open your window treatments during the day showings.

Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.

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Trends For Modern Holiday Décor

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If your idea of holiday decor still centers around popcorn on a string and ornaments that have seen better days, it may be time for an upgrade. Today's hottest holiday decor trends offer modern hues and styles that allow you to be as festive as you want to be and still maintain a home that showcases your unique flair.

Unique fabrics

Unless we're talking about red-based plaid or your Great-Great-Grandma's Gingerbread Man comforter - may not necessarily impact a holiday feel. But rich fabrics like the velvet and faux fur being shown by West Elm this season bring the luxe, helping transform your space into a winter wonderland. "The retailer declared velvet ‘this season's lust-have,' offering quilts, duvets, throw pillows, and blankets in the textured fabric. And who could ignore their gorgeous new faux-fur throws," asks MyDomaine.

Blush

This hot color is another surprising yet ultra-chic choice for your holiday house. "Twas the year of blush pink. Unsurprisingly, trendy gals are swapping their red ribbons, buntings and blooms for something something rosier... and much less expected," said PureWow. All you need is some silk ribbon tied around some greenery to achieve a special look for your stairway.

Glittery white trees

Frosted branches, mercury glass ornaments, and twinkling lights create a glowing centerpiece to your holiday décor. Keeping everything light and bright and effervescent makes for a show-stopping look that is both brilliant and calming.

If that's a little too sedate for you, try this tip from Elle Décor and "make white your base color" with pops of red.

Blue Christmas

Is the traditional red and green color scheme on its way out? Never. But, this year a festive blue hue is making a strong argument for holiday domination. "It's all about the blue," said MyDomaine of West Elm's luxurious take on this year's holiday trends. "While red and green made an appearance in the form of an evergreen tree, ornament, or flower arrangement, almost every page featured a deep jewel-tone blue. Think dining chairs, pillows, and even dinnerware." 

Black and white

Another color combination is bringing more interest to the holiday home. "One of the hottest 2017 holiday decoration trends is black and white," said Connecticut in Style. It's absolutely timeless. Black and white is also the ideal backdrop to add ANY color to, especially red. When it comes to decorating with black and white, the possibilities are endless. It could be a simple wreath with a black and white bow, a buffalo check runner down your holiday dining table, your Christmas tree, or just a few spots around your home."

We love how black and white brings beautiful style to this table, and all you need is a tablecloth and a set of decorative plates to pull it off.

Unique ornaments

Make your tree a focal point with these modern shapes and metallic hues.

But don't stop there! Ornaments look great in other places throughout the home, too, like over the dining room table. "Don't restrict magnificent baubles and sparkly snowflakes to the tree when it comes to your Christmas decor ideas," said Real Simple. "Accentuate overhead lighting with shimmery decorations and stick to a fresh winter palette like pale blue and silver. Finish it off with an elegant satin ribbon gently dangling from the chandelier."

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Holiday Entertaining: Where Should You Splurge vs. Save?

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If you're hosting for the holidays, there is undoubtedly a lot to do and a lot to buy. You probably have a budget you're looking to stick to, but then you make the mistake of wandering in to Williams Sonoma…and there goes your bottom line! There are places to save a few bucks so you can make a few worthy splurges. Here's a guide that will help.

Splurge: Good cookware

The quality of your cookware can have a big impact on the quality of your food. If your pots and pans have seen better days, it's a good time to splurge on a few high-end items, like this Swiss Diamond 10-piece set, made of cast aluminum with a PFOA-free nonstick coating. Consumer Reports rated the set the "best pots and pans for your holiday feasts." 

Their lab kitchen evaluated "cooking evenness and how well nonstick surfaces release fried eggs when the pan is new and then again when scratched," along with nonstick durability and "how quickly a pot takes to bring 4 quarts of water to a near-boil. Testers measure how hot the handle gets during heating and use an instrument to access its sturdiness. A big part of nonstick's appeal is easy cleanup, so we note how difficult it is to wash away a sticky bechamel sauce."

The Swiss Diamond set includes 8-inch and 9-inch frypans, 1.4-quart and 2.2- quart saucepans, 3.2-quart saute pan, 8.5-quart stockpot, and glass lids.

Save: Good cookware

The Consumer Reports article shows how, with a little research, you can find high-quality products without spending high dollars. Their top choice for nonstick frying pans? This $100 Zwilling J.A. Henckels version in stainless steel with an aluminum core. But in second place: A $20 Red Copper nonstick pan from Amazon.

Splurge: Amazon Prime

This is a splurge that's really a save, if you think about it. The service that costs $99 for a year ends up saving you money on all those last-minute gifts and things you forgot to buy and don't have time to get to the store for because there are rooms to set up and closets to clean out and food to prepare. Amazon Prime also includes free two-day shipping on more than 50 million items, plus you get access to tons of movies, TV shows, songs, and Kindle e-books.

Save: A trip to Costco

Yes, it's going to be crazy. Yes, you're going to have to wait in line. But the stuff you can't find elsewhere (or at least all in one place) will be worth it. Top of our list: Masterpiece plastic plates and Reflections Silverware. They're nicer than your average disposable stuff and you'll be grateful when you don't have to do dishes 12 times a day. And don't forget to buy lots of toilet paper, paper towels, and Chunky Artichoke & parmesan Dip (seriously, you'll be happy you did!).

Splurge: A cleaning crew

It may feel like an extravagance to hire a cleaning crew to come before your guests arrive or after they leave - or, who are we kidding: both! But it's an extravagance that will save you time and peace of mind, which is always important, and especially so when family is in town!

Save: Your kids

The children may think holiday breaks are for catching up on sleep or TV, but you know better, right? Homes that have to be prepared for holiday guests needs lots of hands to clean out closets and organize pantries.

Splurge: A good set of knives

Or at least one good multipurpose knife. With all that cutting and chopping you're about to do between now and the New Year, it's time to get a real knife. Food and Wine's best knife is this MAC MTH-80 Professional Series 8-inch Chef's Knife with Dimples, which is $145 on Amazon. They praise its "hard, super-sharp blade" and "simple wooden handle that's extremely comfortable and feels secure in the hand." Their best value knife is the Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef's Knife, $38 on Amazon, if you're only looking for a mini-splurge.

Save: Cutting board

Yes, it would be lovely to have a giant two-inch-thick butcher board (and it would make for nice Instagram pics). But you don't have to spend gobs of money - this Walnut cutting board from Williams Sonoma is $155–399 depending on size! - to get the function you need. The Spruce broke down the best cutting boards of 2017 and found this 10.5" by 14.5" inch OXO Plastic board to be its best overall choice. The price: $15 at Amazon.

This plastic board from OXO "is a true workhorse," they said. "It is just the right size—a bit larger than a piece of letter size paper - so it's ideal for most chopping tasks. The soft, tapered handles on two edges make it easy to grip and carry from your counter to the stove, and because it can go in the dishwasher it's ideal for cutting up raw meat and fish." If you'd rather have wood, they have several options listed, including a $36 butcher block.

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Have You Considered Your Home Ownership Goals in the Year to Come?

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The holidays are finally here. Thanksgiving breezed by and now 2018 is in sight. Have you considered your homeownership goals in the year to come? 

Wintertime might not be known as the hottest real estate season, but there are plenty of ways to plan before the spring rush arrives. Did you know that mortgage interest rates remain well below the historic average? If buying a home is one of your resolutions for 2018, don’t wait for warm weather. Talk to a real estate agent now to make a practical game plan and fortify your financial standing. Looking to sell in 2018? From prepping your home for market to outlining steps for your next chapter—the surest way to achieve your New Year’s resolution is to partner with an agent who has the track record to make it happen. 

Connect with us today and make 2018 the year you made your homeownerships dreams come true. From my office to you and your loved ones, we wish you the warmest of holiday seasons!

Cornbread Stuffing

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiPmx6sjRQA

Here is what you'll need!

Cornbread Stuffing
Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup corn kernels
¼ cup honey
2 large eggs
-OR-
1 box cornbread mix, prepared according to box instructions, cut into cubes

Cornbread Stuffing
4 cups cubed white bread (we used an Italian loaf)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
½ head fennel, diced
Salt, to taste
2 green apples, peeled & diced
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound italian sausage, casing removed
¼ cup parsley, minced
2 tablespoons sage
3 cups chicken broth (or stock)

PREPARATION

1. At least one day before serving the stuffing, make the cornbread.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of butter.
3. In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, corn, honey and eggs. Using a rubber spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour, then cut into 1-inch cubes for the stuffing.

For the Stuffing
1. Spread 4 cups of white bread cubes and 4 cups of the cornbread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and leave out overnight to dry out.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
3. Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl.
4. In a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion, garlic, celery, fennel and sprinkle with the salt and cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mixture to the bowl of bread and mix.
5. In the same sauté pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and let brown for 30 seconds. Add the apples and nutmeg and sauté until the apples are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apples to the bread bowl and mix.
6. Add the sausage to the pan and cook, breaking it up as it browns, 8 to 10 minutes; transfer the sausage to the bread bowl and mix.
7. Mix in the parsley and sage.
8. Transfer the bread mixture to the buttered baking dish.
9. Pour the chicken stock around the edges of the baking dish.
10. Put the baking dish on the middle oven rack and bake, uncovered for 40 minutes, until golden brown.
11. Enjoy!