22 October 2010

You are invited to... Casa Fiore’s Cucina!

You’ve made the requests, I’ve listened!  Introducing by popular demand...

Casa Fiore's Cucina

Saturday, Nov. 6, 6pm

Spaghetti allaPuttanesca (Casa Fiore,Sept.,’03)
Pasta al Pesto (Casa Fiore, July-Aug., ‘05)
Pecan Pie (Casa Fiore, Jan.-Feb., ‘04)

Please join me as we prepare together some of my favorite dishes while having a fun and tasty meal.  You will leave with three new dishes, a full stomach, and a happy smile! 

Class maximum:  10 guests. 
Material costs:  $35. 
Register with me at:      

21 October 2010

From the Realtor: Observations from the Field

From time to time, I report on the trends we are seeing both in the body of statistical infomation on hand and in what is currently happening "on the ground" with buyers and sellers.  Here are some of my latest observations.

It’s a fantastic time to be a buyer.  Let’s see, where do we start… lowered values, soft prices, a buyer’s market, super low rates, and some incredible deals.  Wall Street Journal’s Brett Arends recently spelled out “10 Reasons To Buy a Home” in today’s market.  Check out this compelling article on my Casa Fiore Facebook Page—or email me and I’ll send it out to you!

Super Low Rates vs. Lower Prices.  Wait for prices to potentially drop a notch or grab today’s unprecedented rates (4.3% at time of publishing)?  As Arends points out, “These are the lowest rates on record.  As recently as two years ago they were about 6.3%.  That drop slashes your monthly payment by a fifth.”  In concrete terms, a $600K mortgage that once would equal $3,150/month now equals $2,580—a $570/month savings.

 Values Up, Inventory Up, Pending Sales Down.  Since late spring, this is the trend we have been seeing.  Many will point to the April 30 deadline for the federal tax credit, and it appears that the credit may have contributed to knocking some future demand off the fence.  However, we have also seen some of our best year-over-year appreciation in a long time, something worth celebrating.  (Year-over-year statistics represent Seattle neighborhoods.  Source:  NWMLS)

Priced High:  List Long, Sell Low.  Priced Well:  Sell Fast and at 97% of List Price!  In a June snapshot of the market, homes that sold in less than 31 days sold for 97% of their original asking price, while homes with 32-90, 91-180, and 181+ days on market, sold for 94%, 91%, and 76% of their original asking price.  It pays to price well.

13 October 2010

Why Buy a Home in Today's Market? Check Out This Article...

While there's some trepidation about entering today's real estate market, Brett Arends of the Wall Street Journal presents 10 compelling reasons why stepping up right now would be a smart thing to do.

05 October 2010

Casa Fiore's Thanksgiving Extravaganza, Part I: Dad's Minestrone Soup

My ever-popular real estate newsletter Casa Fiore is in its eighth year of existence.  Here is the latest recipe from issue #54.  As always, let me know if I you have any questions along the way.  Enjoy!

 My favorite Thanksgiving dishes aren’t the stuffing or the roasted bird. Instead, I prefer a couple of family food traditions. I shared my favorite pumpkin pie recipe with you (Casa Fiore, Oct.-Nov., 2005), made from denser, sweeter Hubbard squash.  Now for two more Pignataro favorites. First, Dad’s minestrone, or literally, “big soup”. Lately, Dad’s made a vegetarian version; in the past, he made a beef stock from scratch (and omits the bouillon cubes) and builds from there. Like Dad, I use the recipe that follows as a general blueprint—there are always modifications in the field, like pancetta for salt pork, more olive oil and oregano or the addition of a flavorful rind of Parmigiano. So, think of me this Thanksgiving as you are deep into your tryptophan gaze—I’ll still be plugging away a this hearty, annual “big soup”.

1. In a large soup kettle, sauté 1/4 lb. minced pancetta and 3 minced cloves garlic in 2 tbsp. hot olive oil.  Add the following diced veggies: 2 carrots, 1 large onion, 3 cups celery and cook over med. heat for minutes.  Add one 6-oz. can tomato paste.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add 4 quarts water (or beef stock, either homemade or store-bought) and bring to a full boil for 5 minutes.  Add seasonings:  3 tbsp. salt, pepper to taste, 1 tsp. oregano, 3 beef bouillon cubes.  Mix well and add the following:  2 diced potatoes, 1/4 head chopped cabbage, 2 seeded diced green peppers.  Cook 5 minutes.
3. Turn heat to med.-low.  Add 2 diced zucchini and 1 bunch finely chopped spinach.  Cook until all veggies are tender.  Add 3/4 cup cooked pasta of your choice (1/3 cup uncooked), one 12-oz. can drained and chopped tomatoes, one 12-oz. can drained garbanzo beans, one 12-oz. can drained kidney beans.  Heat through and serve.

Stay tuned for Part II:  Joe’s Turkey Pot Pie!