Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty


Looking to put together an offer on a house? Ultimately, you'll want to submit a competitive first offer. By doing so, you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, however, it is important to understand what differentiates a "fair" proposal from a subpar one.

To better understand how to submit a competitive proposal, let's take a look at three best practices that every homebuyer needs to consider before making an offer on a house.

1. Evaluate the Housing Market

If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to examine the real estate market closely. That way, you can identify housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if you find there is an abundance of high-quality houses available, you may be entering a buyer's market. In this market, there likely is a shortage of homebuyers, which means a competitive offer at or near a home seller's asking price is sure to grab this individual's attention.

On the other hand, if you notice that homes are selling quickly in a city or town, you may need to prepare for a seller's market. If you pursue houses in a seller's market, you may need to act quickly due to the sheer volume of buyers competing for the same residences.

Clearly, a comprehensive housing market analysis can make a world of difference for homebuyers. With in-depth housing market insights at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than other buyers to submit a competitive first offer on any residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

What good is a competitive home offer if you cannot afford to buy a residence? If you secure a home loan, you can narrow your home search to properties that you can afford. Then, you'll be able to submit a competitive offer that ensures you won't have to break your budget to purchase your dream residence.

Also, if you're unsure about how your financial situation will impact your ability to buy a house, you should consult with banks and credit unions in your area. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a home loan, establish a homebuying budget and much more.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to submitting a competitive home offer, it pays to receive expert homebuying support. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who is happy to help you put together a competitive home offer.

A real estate agent can provide housing market data that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, this housing market professional can offer unbiased home offer recommendations to ensure you can get an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

Collaborating with a real estate agent is a great option for homebuyers in all cities and towns. Reach out to local real estate agents today, and you can get the help you need to submit a competitive offer on any residence.


It's easy to let everything that needs doing cloud our focus on the essential things. There are meals to fix, a house to clean, errands to run, bills to pay, yard work, school work, work-work! There doesn't seem to be a truly simple or easy way to get it all done. Sometimes you want to give up and let it all go. But that would mean admitting that you're not successful, can't keep it together, don't measure up.

The truth is that you really can’t do it all … at least, not all at once. Most of it is just distractions between you and your true goals. 

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, authors of The ONE Thing, offer a solution. When making any decision, they say to ask yourself:

“What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it
 everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Not everything matters

Goal-setting is not new. Every year thousands of people set goals, create resolutions, make lists, and define priorities. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to become caught up in fitting in, trying to live up to Instagram or Facebook posts from friends and family, or those PTA/PTO parents. When it comes right down to it, however, what’s right for someone else may not be what’s right for you and your family. What matters is what moves you toward your goals, dreams, and aspirations as a family and as individuals. 

In each area of your life, try to pick the ONE thing that is most important. Prioritize getting that one thing done and don’t worry about the rest.

  • Meals: if your family is busy and moving in all directions. Focus on keeping nutritious snacks on hand that they can grab heading out the door. If family mealtime is crucial to you, focus on ONE meal a week that the family is all at the table at the same time.
  • Housework: define ONE thing each day. Do that one and don't worry about the rest. Eventually, you'll find you've freed up the time to take on the occasional deep clean, organization, or extra laundry.
  • Paying bills: take one day to set up automatic bill-pay or some other online credit/debit card payment option so that you don't have to worry about the bills all the time. Then, the ONE thing merely is keeping that card account flush for when those bills come in.
  • Consolidate errands so that you can make just ONE trip. Or, utilize online shopping and delivery to do it for you.

In each area that threatens to overwhelm your life, find the ONE thing that you need to do and do that one. Marking off your to-do list of ONE each day builds confidence and proves you’re succeeding!

If the ONE thing on your list is shopping for a new home, make that ONE call to your local real estate office and pass the job of house-hunting on to them.


No matter when you start a new way of eating—New Year’s resolution or half-way to Summer—one of the biggest challenges to sticking with it is avoiding those pesky little temptations that trip you up. If you’re on the ketogenic diet, that means removing those sweet or starchy carbohydrates from sight so that your body can start to burn fat.

Organizing your kitchen is almost effortless if you've just moved into your new home. But if you' been in your kitchen for a while, you'll need to remove a few items before you stock up on the right ones.

Old habits, novel hacks

For a decade or two, kitchen décor included adorable jars of brightly-colored pasta, beans, and lentils; containers of rice, multi-hued dried corn husks, and ancient grains; and, bowls of fresh fruit. When you go keto, none of those things is on the plan, so if you're ready to redecorate, toss them out (or give them away). If you love the look, however, remove them from enticing you by pouring clear resin in the jars.

Stock the new staples

Fill your fridge and freezer with the keto-friendly foods on your list.

  • Proteins: Beef, poultry, lamb, fish, pork, and bacon, bacon, and more bacon. Keep a good supply of eggs on hand. If you’re doing meatless keto, then tofu and plant proteins, in all varieties should fill your space.
  • Dairy: Heavy cream is your friend. Use it in your coffee or tea, to thicken your sauces and soups, and as a base for dressings. Add cream cheese and hard cheeses to complement your proteins and stock a good supply of butter or ghee.
  • Vegetables: Above-the-ground veggies, such as broccoli and cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, greens, asparagus, and those growing on vines (bell peppers, cucumber) should occupy your refrigerator drawers, and those former fruit bowls are perfect for ripening tomatoes and avocados.
  • Good fats: If your keto plan includes rendered meat fats, set aside a jar for beef tallow and bacon grease. Adding one of these fats to a sauté or to flavor those spouts is a no-brainer, and it’s just what your grandmother would have done. Conversely, if you’re less inclined to use meat fats, mayonnaise or a jar of coconut oil is a perfect choice, along with extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil.
  • Condiments: Mustards and pepper sauces stay on the list, as do olives and pickles (but not sweet or bread-and-butter pickles).

And don’t forget your pantry. Stock those shelves with mayonnaise, keto-approved dressings, bottles of vinegar, coconut oil, pork rinds (your chip replacement), nuts, canned fish—such as tuna, salmon, and sardines—and jerky.

If you're looking for a fabulous new kitchen to start your new thinner, healthier life, reach out to your local real estate professional who might know a neighborhood with walkable keto-friendly restaurants to keep you sticking to the straight and narrow.


Trying to get your house ready for the real estate market? Ultimately, a home appraisal can help you set a fair price for your residence, thereby boosting your chances of a quick home sale.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will evaluate your residence both inside and out. Then, this inspector will provide you with a report that details his or her findings, along with an estimated value of your residence.

With a home appraisal report in hand, you can establish home improvement priorities. Plus, you can enter the housing market with a good idea about your house's value and price your residence accordingly.

Clearly, there are many reasons to complete a home appraisal. But it also is important to do everything possible to get your house appraisal-ready to increase your chances of getting a high appraisal.

For those who are struggling to get their homes appraisal-ready, we're here to help.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep your residence for an appraisal.

1. Take an Objective View of Your Residence

Consider how a homebuyer may see your house – you'll be glad you did. If you take an objective approach to selling your residence, you may be able to identify various problem areas before you list your house.

For example, cracked or chipped home siding may seem like a minor issue to you, but this problem can affect how homebuyers perceive your house. Conversely, if you fix cracked or chipped siding before a home appraisal, you can increase the likelihood of a favorable appraisal.

2. Spend Some Time Cleaning Your House

A tidy house is a pristine residence, one that will surely stand out to homebuyers. Meanwhile, if you allocate some time to clean your residence, you may be able to identify potential home problems that otherwise could hurt your residence's value.

If you need extra help with home cleaning, it certainly pays to hire a professional cleaning company. This business hires friendly, experienced staff members who will help you enhance your house's interior and exterior in no time at all.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Getting a house appraisal-ready may prove to be costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive extensive support as you prep your residence for an appraisal.

A real estate agent will examine your residence before an appraisal and offer honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations. In addition, he or she can put you in touch with the top property inspectors in your area to guarantee that you can receive a comprehensive appraisal.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent acts as a home selling guide. This housing market professional is ready to respond to your home selling concerns and questions and will do whatever it takes to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence.

Move one step closer to selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of getting your home ready for an appraisal.


Picking out flowers to plant in your garden and around your home is no easy task. You’ll have to consider the hardiness of the plants, whether you want them to come back year after year, what colors complement your house, and so on.

 Most people just simply buy flowers that look pretty. And while you can get lucky and have healthy flowers that way, a better method is to think about what you’re looking for in a flower.

 In this article, we’re going to help you choose the right flowers for your home and lifestyle.

 Annuals, biennials, and perennials

One of the first things you should consider is the lifecycle of the flowers. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of choosing and planting new flowers every year or two, perennials may be the best choice for you. Over the long run, you can save money by planting and caring for perennials. However, in the short term, annuals tend to be cheaper to buy.

Planting perennials

If you do decide to go with perennials in your garden you’ll need to be careful about which ones you choose. Make sure to look up your plant hardiness zone and only buy flowers that can withstand the colder seasons in your region.

Furthermore, you’ll want to see if there is any special care required to keep your flowers coming back each year. Likely, you’ll have to spend a bit of time aerating and fertilizing your soil to maintain a supply of nutrients to your plants’ roots. Similarly, determine if there is any special care that you can provide in the winter to help the plants return to life next spring.

Planting annuals

Annuals tend to be some of the brightest and most beautiful flowers. Some of them, called “volunteers,” can sow their own seeds easily and return the next year with minimum work on your part.

You might also notice that annuals bloom throughout the season. That means you and you family and house guests have more time to marvel at the beautiful flowers they produce.

Some common annuals to plant are begonias, geraniums, marigolds, sunflowers and petunias. If you like to keep a variety.

Planting biennials

Like annuals, biennials will die after they bloom. The key difference is that they last for two years not one. During spring of the first year they will grow and stem but won’t bloom. The following spring is when biennials reach their peak.

 Just like annuals, biennials can sow their own seeds. However, some are easier to grow than others and you’ll want to encourage them with rich, aerated soil and plenty of water in early spring.

 Some common biennials include Black-eyed Susans, Sweet William, Forget-Me-Not, and some garden variety plants like fennel, carrot, and parsley.

 Pest-repelling plants

There’s more to flowers than just their ability to look and smell nice. Some plants have the ability to repel certain pests. 

Marigold can repel certain insects as well as rabbits, chives repel certain beetles and flies, petunias repel aphids (which can wreak havoc in your vegetable garden), and so on. 

If you have a pest problem and want to dissuade them from coming back next year, planting pest-repelling plants may be the best option for you.