Unique Home Storage Ideas

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” No one is sure who first coined that proverb, but we’ve been trying to implement it since at least the late 18th century. Here are a few DIY storage ideas that may make life in the 21st century a little easier—or at least a little less cluttered.

Bedroom DIY Storage Ideas

For the price of a package of shower rings and a hanger, you could potentially free up an entire drawer if you slip the shower rings over the bottom rung of a hanger and use it to store your scarves. Mount it to the back of your closet door and your scarves will be accessible and won’t get wrinkled.

A wooden hanger can become an ideal storage device for jewelry, especially necklaces and dangly earrings. Just add eye screws at small, even intervals and hook them through the eye screws.

Under-bedstorage is always a great idea. While you can buy beds that come with drawers underneath, you can also create your own. Use shallow dresser drawers to which you’ve added wheels and you’ll be able to slide them under the bed. The wheels will make them easier to access when the summer turns to fall and you suddenly need to grab a sweater but aren’t yet ready to do the summer/winter clothing transfer. They’ll also make cleaning under the bed a lot easier, too.

Little wooden spice racks make both perfect displays and storage containers for perfume bottles, nail polish, or other cosmetics.

Bathroom DIY Storage Ideas

Unless you have one for every single family member, bathrooms can be storage nightmares. There are only four corners to a bathtub, and those corners fill up fast when everyone in the family likes to use a different kind of shampoo. Hang fruit baskets from your shower rod and store shampoos, conditioners, nailbrushes, loofahs, and body sponges in the baskets. They’re also a great place to store small bath toys.

Pedestal sinks have been in vogue for a while now, and for good reason: their clean,elegant lines make modern sinks the bathroom focal point and they introduce a feeling of space to what’s usually the smallest room in a house. That said,everyone who’s bought a house with one or replaced an old vanity with a pedestal sink has been faced with the dilemma of where to store their bathroom cleaning products. The solution may be to create a shallow, narrow cupboard between the joists in your bathroom walls. Maybe even two, one on either side of the sink.

A large wine rack mounted on a bathroom wall makes for ideal towel storage. You can build your own or buy one. Or you can mount a series of baskets to the wall and store towels, face cloths, and small appliances like hair dryers, curling irons, beard trimmers and electric razors in the baskets.

Don’t forget to use the space above your toilet and above your towel racks. Install floating shelves and use glass jars to store cotton swabs, facial wipes, makeup remover pads, hair elastics and bobby pins or hair clips. 

Craft Room and Home Office Storage Ideas

An old muffin tin will fit nicely in even the shallowest desk drawer, and it automatically gives you a dozen small compartments to store paper clips, push pins, elastics, and USB drives. If the drawer is wide enough, add a kitchen cutlery tray and you’ve got storage for pens, markers, scissors, rolls of tape,and charger cords.

Revolving countertop spice racks with clear glass bottles are perfect for small craft supplies like pins, needles, buttons, beads, and sequins. If your craft room has a closet, take the door off and add more shelving. You can still use the curtain rod and pants or skirt hangers to hang folded fabric or scrapbooking supplies. 

Pickup an old dresser at a flea market, paint it with chalk paint, and store crafting tools and supplies in the drawers. Dividers are always a good idea.You can buy them or make your own out of cardboard covered in wallpaper. Or you could invest in some more dollar store kitchen cutlery trays. 

If your closet has a bifold door, don’t throw it out or store it in the garage.Mount it to the wall and buy some decorative hooks so you can hang scissors and other tools or rolls of ribbon from the hooks. There’s a reason those home workshop pegboards with tools outlined became so popular: they work. Not only can you see where your tools are at any given time, there’s also no doubt where they belong. Once you’ve analyzed the space available to you and the possessions you need to store, you’re well on your way to creating a place for everything. After that, keeping everything in its place will be a lot easier.

Source:  www.bhgre.com/bhgrelife

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team

5 Crucial Tips for Buying in a Sellers’ Market

If your New Year’s resolution is to buy a home this year, don’t be discouraged by the fact it is a sellers’ market.  Below are some great tips to help you be prepared.

  • Get pre-qualified for a loan; better yet get pre-approved. (Pre-approval requires submitting a loan application & necessary documentation)
  • You could be competing with other buyers for the same house so be mentally prepared you may have to offer over asking.
  • Don’t wait too long to make a decision – good homes sell quickly.
  • Make a clean offer with as few contingencies and as large an earnest money deposit as possible.  Be flexible with your closing date.
  • Be ready to compromise on your needs vs. wants in a home. 

By following these tips and remaining optimistic, 2020 may just be the year you become a new homeowner!  Contact me and put my 26 years of experience to work for you.  603-526-4116; Donna@DonnaForest.com; www.DonnaForest.com

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2020 Housing Market Forecast

Based on numerous articles I’ve read recently, the housing market for 2020 will be déjà vu all over again!  This past year we had limited supply, low interest rates, and high demand and not much is expected to change.  In fact, the ARCH Mortgage Ins. Co. estimates 32 of the 50 states have a minimal probability of having lower home prices for the next 2 years (including NH).  Core Logic predicts US home prices to increase 5.4% in the US and 7.1% in NH.  There are several reasons for low inventory; more homes need to be built, the average homeowner is moving every 13 yrs. which is up from 8 yrs. in 2010, and a greater number of baby boomers are aging in place.  The good news for buyers is mortgage rates are expected to remain low, around 3.8%.  Bottom line, 2020 is expected to continue as a seller’s market with appreciation stronger at the lower price points.  Whether buying or selling, contact me to find out how the market impacts you!  603-526-4116; www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team

5 Ways to Get Involved inYour Community by Participating and Volunteering

When you’ve just moved into a new community, getting involved with your neighbors and neighborhood can be a great beginning to a happy life. Our communities can be pillars of support when we need them or friendly faces we’re happy to see each day. Through volunteering, joining clubs and groups, taking part in community sports activities and hosting events, you can bond with those who live around you and create a wonderful home for yourself – and others.

Here are 5 ways to get more involved in your community:

Many big cities and small towns have carnivals, holiday gift boutiques, formal dinners and similar charitable events to bring the community closer together. Attend these events and enjoy being a part of shared experiences. You’ll likely meet people who have many of the same interests as you do, which is a good way to form friendships.


  • Attend or host charity events


Children often enjoy becoming members in Girl or Boy Scout-type groups, YMCA memberships, parks and recreation classes or mommy and me groups. Often, parents of kids in these programs go on to become friends for life. If you don’t have little ones, it’s still possible to coach, teach a craft, be a dance instructor and get involved in your community in other ways.

Families can get to know neighbors by becoming active in after-school programs. Even if you don’t have kids, meet new people in your neighborhood by volunteering your time to these activities.


  • Get active in after-school programs


How can you help those who share your small part of the world? Perhaps tutoring, offering legal aid, mentoring, teaching a language, organizing a food bank or visiting the elderly in your community resonates with you. Children can often be persuaded to join the community volunteer force by teaching older adults all the ways of the Internet.

Volunteer in a local clinic, hospital, nature center, library or community center. Volunteerism is a superb way to meet people and contribute skills and talents to those who might need them. Not only will you probably experience a sense of accomplishment after sharing the gifts you have to offer, your neighbors will likely notice your contributions and consider you a valuable member of the community.


  • Become a community volunteer


If you have a community center or other public space available, use it to form friendships while you learn something new. Sometimes taking turns meeting in members’ homes, either weekly or monthly, is a good way to break the ice with small talk or enjoy truly enriching conversation. Think about planning a series of special gatherings or ongoing drop-in events.

Learn more about the people who live near you by starting conversations within your community. This is easily done through book clubs or groups that come together to make jewelry, create art, cook and learn new languages. Ask your immediate neighbors if they know about any clubs or meetups you can join. If there aren’t any, start one yourself.


  • Start conversations


While you till, water, plant and harvest, try to get to know the members of your community. Tell stories of where you came from and ask others about their backgrounds. If you have kids, get them involved with a beginner’s food scrap garden and encourage neighbors to bring their children to participate too.

Join a community garden in your neighborhood, and if you don’t have one, start one. Growing organic produce on a shared plot is a great way to connect with people near you. It also helps everyone involved develop a deeper understanding of the importance of keeping the air, water and ground clean and safe in a community.


  • Join a community garden


The good thing about getting involved in your new community is that if there aren’t gardens, clubs, organized activities, volunteer opportunities or other programs in place for you to meet people, you can always be the facilitator of these types of gatherings. Your new neighbors will probably be glad you took the initiative to provide ways to connect.

Source:  www.bhgre.com

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team

Give Thanks to Home Ownership

While we are in the season of giving thanks, it serves as a good reminder why we should be thankful to be homeowners.   It’s not just about having a roof over your head – a home provides shelter, wealth, stability & pride.  Below are just some of the many financial and non-financial benefits.

  • The average homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than a renter’s.  (Federal Reserve’s survey of Consumer Finances 2013-2016)
  • Rent prices increase 3-4% annually.  A fixed mortgage provides the stability of knowing your payments won’t go up.
  • You can build home equity which can then later be used to start a business, pay college tuition, or help buy a vacation property.
  • Homeowners tend to be more involved in their community.
  • Home ownership provides a sense of accomplishment & control over your environment.  This also impacts children as studies show they have less behavioral problems and perform better in school.

If owning a home is part of your American dream, then contact me to help you start the process! 603-526-4116; Donna@DonnaForest.com; www.DonnaForest.com

You’ll be moving in the right direction with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team.

The Art of Appraisals

An appraisal is a licensed appraiser’s opinion of value of a property usually based on comparable sales.  When buyers get a mortgage, the lender requests an appraiser to conduct a written valuation of the house.  The lender will compare the appraisal price to the selling price to make sure the buyer is not borrowing more than the house is worth.  An appraisal is subjective and is more of an art than science.   Some appraisers are more generous in their adjustments and some are more conservative, all following lending guidelines.  In quickly appreciating markets such as this one, it does happen where a home will appraise lower than the agreed upon sales price.  The lack of similar sales and higher prices due to bidding wars make it challenging for appraisers.  If the appraisal comes in low, it does not mean the seller must sell it to you at the appraised value.  It can become a point of renegotiation or buyers may have to pay out of pocket for the difference.  Obviously the goal is to make the sale work for both parties.  Remaining calm and working with an experienced agent is the key to a successful sale.  Give me a call if you'd like professional service in buying or selling a home.  603-526-4116; www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com.

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Is There Really a Selling Season?

In this area there definitely is.  Usually it’s our first sign of spring when For Sale signs start popping up like dandelions in the lawn and our multiple listings change daily with new homes and land on the market.  Data from the National Association of REALTORS show that May through August are the busiest months for volume of sales.  Buying stays steady through the summer and early fall.  It usually drops off right after Labor Day for a couple of weeks and then picks up again in October through early November.  Two of the more obvious factors for this “seasonal” market include the fact that school has ended and families prefer to move before the next school year starts as well as the weather is much nicer in the spring-summer to be out looking at properties.  This is not to say that properties will not sell any other time of year.  It just means in this area there may be fewer buyers out there looking.  With proper pricing and enhancing your home for maximum effect, a house will sell regardless of the month.  Give me a call to get the Better Homes & Gardens advantage any time of year.  603-526-4116; www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com.

Teamwork from the Team that works –Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team

Housing Market Hot or Not?

The housing market still appears to be going strong both in the US and in NH.  Nationally, the median sales price through Aug. was up 4.7% to $278,200 and in NH it was up 5.6% to $299,900.  A strong labor  market, low interest rates, and low inventory continue to impact housing sales by pushing up home prices.  Locally, in the towns of Newbury, New London, & Sunapee combined, sales up are up - 164 homes sold YTD through Aug. compared to 135 sold in 2018.  Avg. days on market this year is 78 days compared to 116 days last year for the 3 towns and the avg. selling price was 96% of the asking price.   Interestingly enough, in our area the median sales price through Aug. stayed about the same at $351,000 (last year it was $350,000).

While the U.S. economy at large looks positive, experts are split on whether another recession is on the horizon. However, most signs point to continued good news for the housing market. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast predicts a moderate but healthy 5.6% acceleration in annual home price growth to June 2020.  Bottom line, the housing market is really good for buyers and sellers.  Mortgage rates are low and home prices are still rising.  Contact me to work with a realtor who understands how the market impacts you!  603-526-4116; www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com.

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Seven Reasons Getting Rid of Clutter Helps a House Sell Faster

Whether you bought a starter home or what you hoped would be a forever home,circumstances change. One thing that doesn’t change though, is the inevitable expansion that occurs when you become a homeowner. As time goes on, you acquire tools that need to be used just once or twice a year, like step ladders and extension ladders, lawn mowers, edgers and leaf blowers. When it’s time to sell, you may find you’ve expanded just a bit too much. Getting rid of clutter is the first thing you need to do when you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, and sadly, unless you move frequently, there are very few peoplewho don’t accumulate more than they should.

Here are seven reasons you need to get rid of that clutter to ensure a quick home sale.

1. It’s all about imagined lives

Clutter makes it hard to think.You may not think of your collection of exotic masks from your foreign travels as clutter. But let’s face it, we don’t all like the same things, and if your home is bursting with small objects, buyers can’t imagine themselves in your space. You have to make room for them and their imagined lives in what might soon be their home rather than yours. Store the highly personal collections during the selling process so buyers can see the space as theirs, and they’ll be more likely to make an immediate offer.

2. Help the potential buyer maintain focus

Extra seating, family photos and bone china tea cup collections are all distractions.You don’t want potential buyers to become so intrigued (or puzzled) by the things you’ve collected—none of which they’ll be purchasing—that they don’t actually register the house itself. You want them to look at the space,appreciate its best features and become convinced of its potential for their family. 

3. Create the illusion of space to entice buyers

By getting rid of extra seating, paring down the clothes in your closets and weeding out everything in the pantry that’s past its best-before date, you create the illusion of more space, which is always a good thing when trying to sell a home. After all, empty rooms always look bigger than rooms filled with furniture. 

Be strategic, though, and don’t leave yourself with nowhere to sit. Think of your home as wearing its Sunday best rather than sweats and a t-shirt, and if there’s a chair the cat’s clawed, the sun has faded or that needs cleaning or reupholstering, get it out of the house while potential buyers are viewing. There will be plenty of time to kick back and relax in that past-its-prime lounger when you’re moved into your new home.

4. Well-staged homes photograph better

While you might get a viewing from a drive-by or after an open house, most potential buyers these days are going to look at your house and its listing online. Good photos make all the difference here, but you’re not going to get them if you haven’t decluttered. Put the family photos away, get all the toys into the toy box, remove the gym equipment that’s migrated from the basement to other living areas and make your real estate agent’s job easier by presenting a home that shows to advantage in both photos and real life.

5. Maximize kitchen counter space

Yes, it’s a pain. But even though your family uses the toaster and blender everyday, putting them away in cupboards before viewings provides a clean slate and makes potential home buyers think about all the meals they’re going to prepare in their new home. 

If your home’s being shown to first-time home buyers, chances are good they’re looking for more space, particularly an opportunity to expand from a galley kitchen to one that has room for a table and chairs. Help them believe they’regoing to be transformed into hosts with the most when they buy your home by giving them the visual space they need.

6. Don’t borrow trouble

Cluttered homes make potential buyers uneasy. Viewing someone else’s occupied home is slightly uncomfortable for most people. Clutter is not only a distraction; it makes your home look uncared for. This can make potential buyers start to ask themselves, “if they haven’t taken care of their possessions, what other problems are brewing here?” You could lose an offer if this kind of nebulous doubt sets in.

7. Let your home show itself

Let’s face it—you’re selling your home, not the couch and coffee table. By getting rid of clutter and replacing it with neutral but stylish accessories, you lead the buyer’s eye to the features of your home that are its true selling points. That means you’re going to get a quicker sale and a higher price than if you make a potential buyer struggle to see your home’s merits.

You’ll be moving in the right direction with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team.

What to Expect at Closing

In order to take the mystery out of the closing process for buyers, here are some basics on the process:

  • You do a walk-through the day before or morning of the closing to ensure the house is in the same general condition as when the offer was made and things are left that were supposed to be there (e.g. appliances).
  • Your lender hires a closing agent who creates a statement outlining the loan amount, loan costs, recording fees, title insurance premiums, escrows for insurance & taxes, state transfer tax, tax prorations, and the deposit.  This will show how much money you will need to bring to close. 
  • You are charged for any oil/propane/firewood/pellets left.  This may be put on the closing statement or paid by check to sellers. 
  • Be prepared to sign lots of paperwork at the actual closing!  The funds you bring should be on a bank check or previously wired to the closing agent.

Your agent will help you through this process, but knowing what to expect can alleviate many concerns.  Give me a call if you want an experienced Realtor helping you!  603-526-4116, www.DonnaForest.com, Donna@DonnaForest.com

You’ll be moving in the right direction with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team.