Lisa Westerman - ReMax Professional Associates


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!


    Deciding whether to submit an offer to purchase a house may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of submitting a homebuying proposal so you can make the best-possible decision.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to submit an offer to purchase a residence.

    1. Evaluate Your Budget

    If you believe you've found your dream home, you should take a look at your budget. That way, you can verify whether you'll be able to afford this residence both now and in the future.

    Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start a house search. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage that allows you to pursue a house with a budget in hand.

    2. Consider Your Homebuying Criteria

    You want to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible, but it is paramount to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come. If you have a list of homebuying criteria, you may be able to quickly determine whether a residence is right for you.

    As you craft homebuying criteria, think about what you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you've always wanted to own a house on a beach, you can narrow your home search accordingly. On the other hand, if you would like to own a home that has an above-ground swimming pool but can live without this feature if necessary, you should include an above-ground swimming pool as a low-priority item on your homebuying checklist.

    3. Assess the Housing Market

    The housing market often fluctuates, and a buyer's market today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one. You then can decide whether to submit an offer to purchase or hold off on providing a homebuying proposal until housing market conditions improve.

    To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market, it generally is a good idea to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. You also should find out how long these residences were available before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can assess the demand for houses in your city or town.

    Lastly, as you debate whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you perform an in-depth evaluation of a home and determine whether to offer to buy this house.

    Make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide how to proceed with any house, at any time.



    Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

    Understanding the type of loan you're getting matters, to protect your financial interests. You also need to know when to choose one type of loan over another. So, should you choose a bridge loan? When might that be the best choice for getting into the home of your dreams? Here's what you need to know about this particular loan type.

    What Are Bridge Loans?

    Bridge loans typically provide temporary home financing, and are designed for use for six to 12 months. They carry an interest rate that is approximately two percent higher than a standard mortgage. These loans can "bridge" the gap between buying one property and selling another, allowing the borrower to get into a different home before their original home is sold and closed.

    Who Can Receive a Loan Like This?

    Anyone who owns a home and is trying to buy another one could potentially get a bridge loan. Just as with a traditional mortgage, though, you would have to qualify. Income and equity requirements must be met. There is also usually a debt-to-income ratio that's very important, since you'll have to make loan payments for a few months.

    Why Would Someone Want a Bridge Loan?

    When you're selling your home but you haven't found a buyer yet, you might find another home you want to buy. Since you don't have the funds from the sale of your current home, you wouldn't normally qualify to buy the other home. If you can get a bridge loan, though, you can buy the second home while still trying to sell the first one. When the first one sells and you receive the proceeds, you can use that money to pay off the bridge loan. Bridging that gap between the financing for the two homes can be vital in markets where housing is very competitive, or where you need to move quickly to purchase a particular home.

    How to Get This Type of Loan

    Getting a bridge loan involves talking to your bank or other lender, just like you would with another type of loan. Not all lenders offer bridge loans, so it's important to shop around. Additionally, your real estate agent can be a great resource when it comes to finding a bridge loan. Some agents even partner with lenders for these kinds of loans, to give their clients more options.

    If you're not sure whether a bridge loan is the right choice for your home buying and selling needs, talking to your lender and real estate agent can help. There are times when borrowing additional money isn't a good choice, but these kinds of loans can also be very beneficial in certain real estate circumstances.


    As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to make your residence an attractive choice for buyers. Because if your home stands out from the pack, you may be better equipped than other sellers to enjoy a fast, seamless and profitable house selling experience.

    Ultimately, there are many ways to make your home an attractive option for buyers, and these include:

    1. Perform Home Improvements

    If your home has a leaky roof, defective heating and cooling system or other problems, there may be no time like the present to perform house upgrades. That way, you can transform assorted home weaknesses into strengths.

    For home sellers who are uncertain about how to upgrade their residences, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection. This evaluation enables a home inspector to review your residence both inside and out. Then, a home inspector will provide a report that details his or her findings, and you can use the report results to prioritize home improvement projects.

    2. Remove Clutter

    If your home is full of antiques, furniture and various personal belongings, it may be tough for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence. Conversely, if you eliminate clutter from your home, you can show off your living space's full potential to buyers.

    Oftentimes, it helps to rent a storage unit before you list your residence. This unit will allow you to store a wide range of personal belongings in a safe place until your house sells.

    It also may be a good idea to host a yard sale or sell excess items online. By doing so, you can simultaneously remove clutter and earn extra cash.

    3. Boost Your Residence's Curb Appeal

    Your house's curb appeal is a difference-maker in homebuyers' eyes. If your home boasts a pristine front lawn, flawless siding and other dazzling exterior features, your residence may stand out to buyers as soon as they see it. Comparatively, if your house has a messy front lawn, damaged siding and other noticeable flaws, your residence is unlikely to make a positive first impression on buyers.

    Allocate time and resources to bolster your house's curb appeal – you'll be happy you did. If your home makes a positive first impression on homebuyers, you may receive lots of interest in your residence. And as a result, you may be able to accelerate the house selling cycle.

    Lastly, as you search for ways to distinguish your residence from other available houses, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert recommendations and suggestions to help you enhance your residence. Plus, if you have any concerns or questions throughout the home selling journey, a real estate agent will always be available to address them.

    Ensure your residence is an attractive option for buyers – use the aforementioned tips, and you can differentiate your house from the competition.


    This Single-Family in Holden, MA recently sold for $358,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Lisa Westerman - RE/MAX Prof Associates.


    3 Sandy Glen Dr, Holden, MA 01520

    Single-Family

    $339,900
    Price
    $358,000
    Sale Price

    7
    Rooms
    3
    Beds
    1/1
    Full/Half Baths
    Just what you've been waiting for, a 3-4 bedroom ranch in Holden w/ 2 car garage in a neighborhood setting that's close to the Worcester line! Great home for entertaining, has a large heated sunroom w/ tile floor, open kitchen/dining area & an oversized living rm w/ cathedral ceilings & skylights. Formal dining rm has hardwood floors & a pellet stove. All 3 bedrooms have hardwood floors & generous closets. A full bath w/ double sink vanity and a 1st floor laundry room complete the 1st floor. The lower level is walkout w/ a door that leads to the backyard and has a family room, an office w/ full closet that could also be a 4th bedroom/guestroom & a recently renovated 1/2 bath. Washer/dryer hookups also in LL - possible inlaw set up?? Young roof & gutters (2018-19), Young dishwasher & refrigerator. Backyard boasts a spacious wood deck that overlooks a tree-lined backyard w/ large storage shed. Come see, you won't be disappointed.

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