Happy August! Whew it's hot out—and yes, I'm talking about the weather AND the real estate market. To help you navigate both, in this month's newsletter I've included 5 cold dinner recipes (that involve little-to-no stovetop cooking) and 4 common mistakes to avoid when house hunting in today's competitive market. You'll also find 7 tips for freshening up your patio furniture, plus a quick update on the national housing market.

Thanks for reading, and stay cool!

Need dinner ideas? Don’t feel like standing over a hot stove and heating up your entire house? Here are some perfect summer meals, courtesy of Southern Living.
1) Herbed Chicken-and-Rice Salad:

Skip the stove completely with this recipe that uses store-bought rotisserie chicken and microwave-cooked rice. It’s topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, almonds, feta, celery, parsley, and a lemony dressing, and served cold.
2) Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos:
After a quick sear on the stovetop, you’ll pop the chicken into your slow cooker with some canned enchilada sauce and a few other ingredients. And because the slow cooker won’t heat up your kitchen, you can spend an enjoyable hour preparing toppings, chopping veggies, and maybe even making some fresh guac!
3) Watermelon Gazpacho:
Enjoy this summer spin on a traditional Spanish classic. Traditionally, Gazpacho is a chilled soup consisting of vegetables and spices/herbs. In this recipe they created a sweeter version by swapping the tomatoes with watermelon. This 6 ingredient recipe can be made and chilled in less than an hour!

4) The SL BLT:

Southern Living’s take on the summer classic adds one simple, flavorful step—grating some garlic and stirring into your mayonnaise before you spread it across the toast.
5) Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

Summertime calls for bright flavors, and this chicken salad is full of them! The chicken salad recipe includes jalapeño, lime zest, and lime juice. Once you’ve spooned the mixture into your lettuce cups, you’ll top things off with mango cubes, cashews, and cilantro. Yum!
For more cool meals to prepare on hot days, check out Southern Living’s list of 33 Easy Cold Dinners.
Is your patio furniture looking a little funky? Has a summer's worth of sunscreen, melting popsicles, and muddy feet left your cushions stained and dirty? Check out these outdoor furniture cleaning tips, and get your patio looking as fresh as the day you bought it!
1) Start by brushing off loose dust and dirt.
Whatever the material, "always start with a light cleaning," advises Gardenista, "sweeping surfaces as needed with a soft brush or cloth. Then assess if more care and cleaning is needed."

2) When in doubt, use dish soap mixed with warm water.
This is the cleaning solution that is least likely to cause damage to furniture and upholstery.

3) Read the manual!
And if you lost the manual, you can probably find it online. The manufacturer will have instructions on how to properly clean the product.

4) Vacuum natural or resin wicker furniture.
Use a soft brush attachment to get deep into those grooves and crevices. If it's still gunky, follow up with a gentle scrub with a soft cloth and/or toothbrush and a water-dish soap mix. Then rinse and let dry overnight—don't sit on wet wicker because it will stretch! Be sure to do this cleaning on a stretch of hot, sunny days to avoid causing mildew.

5) Remove rust from metal furniture by sanding with fine-grit sandpaper and touching up with rust-proof paint.
Prevent rust by always cleaning metal with a soft cloth to avoid scratches. Avoid abrasive cleaning solutions. (And if you do see places where the paint or finish has chipped away, be sure to apply touch-up paint.)

6) Apply oil to wood furniture (teak, shorea, ipe) after every cleaning.
Aim for every three months. If your furniture is starting to look a little too weathered, use a power washer on "light" mode (or a powerful hose) to blast out embedded dirt. Let it dry, sand, rinse, let dry again, and then finish with oil.

7) Remove mildew from outdoor cushions with dish soap, Borax, and water.
Spread out your cushions on a clean, paved surface. Spray with a hose to get them damp, then use a brush to scrub with a solution of 2 tablespoons of dish soap + half a cup of Borax + a gallon of water. Let the solution sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with the hose. Squeeze the excess moisture from the cushions, then lean them vertically against something so they can dry in the sun.
So there you have it—some pretty simple tips to freshen up your patio furniture.
Perfect timing for your end-of-summer cookout!
Choosing a home to buy is one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions you'll ever make. To ensure all goes well, take care to avoid these common home-buying mistakes.
Don’t let yourself fall in love with a home you can’t afford. You could end up feeling tempted to stretch your budget beyond your means. Or you might simply feel bitter about the homes you can afford.

Get pre-approved by a credible mortgage lender to learn how much home you can afford. Then you can start house-hunting!
You'll probably have to make some kind of compromise. Maybe the laundry room is in the basement (not your ideal scenario) but the rest of the home is perfect and in your price range.
However, there are some compromises you should never make. Here are a few examples:
  • the number of bedrooms, if you plan on growing your family
  • the size and quality of the yard, if your greatest passion is gardening
  • the location, if it means the difference between a 15-minute and a 2-hour commute
Keep looking until you find a home that meets all of your needs.
It’s out there, and your realtor will help you find it.
It’s a tough market for buyers right now—we've got rising mortgage rates, record-high prices, and homes going under contract just days after listing. Buying a home on your own, without an agent to help you find unlisted homes and negotiate offers, could end up costing you a lot of time, money, and emotional wellbeing.

Hire a real estate agent! Meet with several agents, ask them lots of questions, and get feedback from their other clients. Then, choose the agent that has an in-depth understanding of the local market and a track record for successfully finding homes for buyers.
If you don’t move fast enough on a home, competing buyers will swoop in and beat you to it. But if you move too quickly, you don’t give yourself time to get a feel for the neighborhood. Do you like the surrounding area? Can you hear a lot of traffic noise from the backyard? Is the home under a flight path?

Visit the home in person, or ask your agent or another trusted person to visit it for you. Then take the night to sleep on it before making your decision in the morning.
For more info, check out these Top 12 House-Hunting Mistakes from Investopedia

Mortgage rates continue to rise

On July 12, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.3%. While that was down from the previous week’s 5.7%, it’s a significant increase from the 3.5% rate we were seeing in January of this year.

Home supply is still low—but growing

According to Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale, “the actual number of homes for sale is still roughly half of what we saw in June 2019 and more than a third lower than June 2020”—but the number of homes for sale has increased rapidly since the beginning of May 2022.

Home price growth is slowing

Thanks to an increase in inventory, home price growth has been slowing since June 2022. “Still, home price growth continues,” reports Hale, “and we saw a new recent high of $450,000 in June.” But seeing as this is the time of the year when pricing is typically at its peak, price growth is expected to continue to slow in the second half of 2022.

1940 Perryman Road
Sold $12,100 over asking in 2 days!
8907 Lee Manor Dr.
Sold for $570,000



Debbi Rivero
RE/MAX Advantage