Welcome to March 2024 issue of Recipes & Real Estate!

Happy March and Welcome Spring!

First, how about some personal news?

It’s true! Mike and I have relocated back to Massachusetts. We’ve purchased an adorable antique-style, farm house complete with an old dairy barn, a barn converted to a 3-bay garage (with car charger) and stalls for animals, an old tobacco, and our own pond.

We’re looking forward to showing it off as we upgrade and renovate to return this ol’ gal back to her shining glory. Are you up for a visit? Let us know!

Now, on to the real estate!

The spring real estate market is ALREADY in full swing, and folks are realizing that there isn’t going to be an across-the-board crash. They’re also realizing that the interest rates are what they are and it might be best to find the right house at the right price NOW and refinance later.

As a result, I’ve been getting lots of questions on the best way to enter the market to effectively start a home search. Below are the 2 most important things that I suggest if someone wants to enter the real estate market.

  1. Establish a working relationship with the right REALTOR®that would be me.
    Working with the right agent is more important than you may think. Look for someone who’s professional, reliable, committed to your goal, and knowledgeable in your area of interest. Remember that your agent is representing you so choosing someone with integrity, experience, and resources is important. You want someone who is going to be able to represent your best interests and can negotiate on your behalf – that means that they need to know you and your goals, and you have to be able to trust them.

Remember that there is a difference in most states between a client and a customer. The main difference centers around clients being entitled to receive advice/representation and ministerial acts whereas customers are only entitled to ministerial acts and NOT advice. One becomes a client by entering into an “agency relationship” by signing a Buyer Broker Agreement which outlines the responsibilities and rights of each party in a real estate transaction representation.

  1. Financing Options – Get pre-qualified or pre-approved as soon as possible AND this is something that I can guide you through.

Things are still moving quickly so you want to be prepared to make an offer as quickly as possible. Also, sellers and seller agents often require that potential buyers be pre-approved or pre-qualified to schedule a showing. Getting pre-approved will let you know how much you can afford, the type of mortgage that might be best for your individual situation and will let sellers know that you are serious about buying a home.

My standard practice is to ask clients to investigate 3 financing options/financial institutions to give them the best overview of which scenarios may be the best for them. I am happy to provide introductions to our preferred mortgage vendors. Your loan officer(s) will go over best financial practices including what to do and what NOT to do, documents that you will need to provide, the timeline/process, and more.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Finally, let’s talk recipe!

I posted this recipe last year and I’m re-posting it now. It’s easy, yummy, and is the perfect start to Spring for me.

Cajun Style Salmon – Serves: 4

2 lb salmon, skin-on or skin-off
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
*optional, lemon slices/wedges

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  1. In a small bowl, combine all spices together, mixing well to fully incorporate. Set aside.
  2. Use a large baking dish (such as a 9×13-inch vessel) and line dish with aluminum foil, enough foil to drape over sides to fully envelope salmon.
  3. Place salmon on top of foil and season with spices all over. Rub spices into salmon all around to fully coat salmon in its entirety.
  4. Add cubed butter all over tops and sides of salmon. Cover salmon tightly in foil.
  5. Bake salmon for 25-30 minutes (this may depend on the thickness of the fish) or until salmon is cooked through and flakes with a fork. Serve warm with lemon slices/wedges.

For sides, let your own taste be the guide. I like a nice rice pilaf (with pistachios and raisins) and a side of green beans cooked with a bit of lemon juice.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the newsletter this month!

All my best,


Vin Russo, REALTOR®, Associate Partner
Keller Williams Pioneer Valley
300 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA 01060
c: 413-200-0790 | o: 413-585-0022
SRES®, AHWD®, KW Agent of Distinction

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