"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Many sellers are tempted to take their homes off the market between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  They feel the market significantly slows down and that they have little chance of selling - so why disrupt their holidays?  While the slowdown may be true to some degree, there are several advantages for keeping a house on the market during this time frame.  First, buyers that are out looking are serious buyers and are ready to offer on something they like.  In addition, there usually are fewer properties on the market this time of year so the competition is reduced.  Plus the holidays offer a perfect time to dress up a home for prospective buyers.  Sellers looking to sell should seriously consider keeping their homes on the market through the holidays – it may turn out to be their most wonderful time of the year!

If you are looking for an experienced REALTOR with the common sense to help sell your house in any season, then give me a call!  603-526-4116, www.DonnaForest.com, Donna@DonnaForest.com

Teamwork from the Team that works –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.

Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Milestone Team.  Teamwork from the team that works the hardest for both buyers and sellers!

5 Must Know Tips to Sell Home

It takes more than just putting a sign on your front lawn to sell a house.  Below are some surefire ways to make your house attractive to buyers.

  •  Maintain the Yard – First impressions count and mowed lawns, trimmed bushes, fresh mulch help.
  • Remove Clutter & Personal Items – Decluttered rooms will feel larger.  Remove family photos, collections, etc. so buyers can picture themselves in the house.
  • Get a Professional Cleaner – Sparkling windows, shampooed carpets, spotless kitchen & baths will speak volumes to buyers.
  • Let the Sun in – Light & bright sells.  Remove curtains, open blinds, put in high wattage bulbs.
  • Paint – A fresh coat of paint (neutral colors) makes the house seem larger, brighter & more appealing.

Getting ready to sell involves a lot of time and energy.  Contact me for more sound advice on how to prep your home for sale.  www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com; 603-526-4116

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

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.

“Word of Mouth” is the best advertisement, and we love it when you refer your friends and family to Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team.

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.

Don't Let the Flu Get You Down

It's that time of year again - flu season!  Be safe instead of sorry and get your flu shot.  Below is a list of clinics in the Lake Sunapee Region where you can get your shot:

Upcoming 2019 Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice Flu Clinics. For persons 19+ years of age.  LSRVNA will take Medicaid, Medicare and Medicare Replacement Plans.  Please bring your ID card(s).  If paying with cash or check, the cost is $35 for the regular dose and $80 for the high dose (recommended for persons 65+ years of age).    For more information go to www.flu.gov.  Call 603-526-4077 for updates and info.  www.lakesunapeevna.org


9/30  Newbury Library  5-7pm

10/1  Danbury Community Center  10am-noon

10/2  Warner Pharmace  9:30-11:30am

10/3  Claremont Senior Center  10-noon

10/3  Springfield Town Office  4-6pm

10/4  Lyon Brook, New London  10:30am-noon

10/4  Our Lady of Fatima, New London  1:30-3pm

10/7  The Center at Eastman, Grantham  9-noon

10/7  Sutton Town Hall, Sutton Mills  1-3pm

10/8  Bradford Senior Center  10-noon

10/8  St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, New London  1-3pm

10/10  Hilltop Place, New London  11-1pm

10/10  WCA Red Barn, Wilmot  1-7pm

10/14  Sunapee Cove  10-noon

10/15  Upper Valley Senior Center, Lebanon  10-noon

10/15  Kearsarge Area COA, New London  1-4pm

10/15  Washington Town Hall  5:30-7pm

10/16  South Newbury Union Church  4-6pm

10/17  Claremont Senior Center  11-noon

10/18  Kearsarge Presbyterian Church, New London 10-noon

10/21  Sunapee Seniors at United Methodist Church  10-noon

10/22  Cornish Town Hall Senior Lunch  11-12:30pm

10/23  Warner Pharmacy  9:30-11:30am

10/24  Plainfield Elementary School  11:30-1pm

10/24  First Baptist Church, New London  2-4pm

10/25  Newport Senior Center  11-12:30pm

10/28  Andover Town Hall  10-noon

10/28  Mascoma Area Senior Center, Canaan  10-11:30am

10/29  Marion Phillips Apartments, Claremont  12:30-1:30pm

10/30  Earl Bourdon Centre, Claremont  9:30-11:30am

10/30  Sugar River Mills, Claremont  12:30-1:30pm

10/31  Wilmot Town Office  9-11am

Want to Know My Pet Peeve?

OK – I confess – I have a pet peeve about photos.  Specifically about poorly done photos on properties that are listed for sale.  I get really annoyed when I see dimly lit rooms, kitchens with cluttered countertops, refrigerators covered in magnets and papers, and out of focus pictures.  Sellers, you deserve better - homes with high quality photos sell 32% faster.

Given that over 90% of buyers start their search online, if you don’t have great photos, your property is going to be bypassed in seconds.  And buyers will not go back to review it once they’ve weeded it out.   So sellers, do yourself a favor and go view how your house looks online.  If you are not seeing clean lines, decluttered and bright rooms with wide angle lens shots, and crisp photos, then it is time to have an honest conversation with your agent on how you can better prepare your house for photos.   And you need to ask the agent how they will take higher quality photos.  Contact me if you want to work with an agent who knows how to maximize your online presence.  DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com; 603-526-4116

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

Pricing Your Home is Not Magic

If you are thinking about selling, determining the right value is your number one priority.  While sometimes it seems the price is picked out of thin air, there really are 3 methods for determining value.  Below is a brief explanation of each.

1.  Market Analysis - Prepared by a real estate agent to provide an estimate of the probable selling price, expressed as a range.  Using similar active and recently sold properties and factoring in the many characteirstics that impact value, it is a guide to help the seller determine a listing price.

2.  Appraisal - a much more in-depth analysis done by a licensed appraiser.  Typically appraisals are used in the loan process to ensure the value of the home is equal to or greater than the purchase price, thus protecting the lender's interest.

3.  Automated Valuation - Used by Zillow and other companies, the value is calculated by software based on mathematical modeling.  While convenient, it misses important price influences such as property condition and location (e.g. on a busy street).

Want to know your home's value?  Contact me - I just completed a 6 hour class on mastering the market analysis!  25 years in the business and still keeping current - so put my knowledge to work for you!  Donna Forest 526-4116, www.DonnaForest.com, Donna@DonnaForest.com

Looking for a positive home buying/selling experience? Call Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate - The Milestone Team!  603-526-4116

Curb Appeal on a Dime

Does your house or yard need a face-lift? These budget-friendly ideas will help you add interest to your home’s exterior—without a high price tag.

Illuminate pathways.

Curb appeal doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down—you can highlight pathways and landscaping with lights. This improves safety and can dramatically boost your home’s nighttime appearance.

Landscape for curb appeal.

Smooth the transition from street to front steps with these inexpensive landscaping ideas. A curved path to the home’s entry provides a pleasing welcome for visitors. Surround a walkway with midsize shrubs and flowers for plant groupings that have serious impact.

Add container plants.

Improve your front yard by turning your home’s entry into an inviting focal point with a few well-chosen plants on the front porch. Vary the container and plant sizes, and arrange them on multiple levels.

Replace old walkways.

Replace a dull or cracked concrete walkway with a fresh path made of stone or brick. Visitors access this front door via square pads of bluestone trimmed with brick. Narrow strips of turfgrass separate the squares, which step up slightly to follow the change in grade from the street to the house.

Get a healthy lawn.

If your lawn is sickly or choked with weeds, consider installing new sod. Remove the old lawn, lay new sod and keep it well-watered for a few weeks.

Create an appealing porch.

If you’re lucky enough to have a sizable front porch, it’s easy to transform it into a simple but inviting outdoor room. Add a swing, chairs or comfortable bench to create a conversation nook. Keep the porch free of clutter and ready for cozy gatherings.

Accent with color.

When repainting, take the opportunity to choose fresh hues or add an accent color to your exterior color scheme. Paint test patches before committing; some colors look great on a sample card but may be too intense for a house.

Restore an asphalt driveway.

To liven up a worn driveway, patch and seal the surface, filling holes and cracks with asphalt patch. Applying a fresh sealer can also make a driveway look new again.

Upgrade the garage door.

Sectional doors often feature windows in an upper panel, and some higher-end versions mimic the look of traditional carriage-house doors. If a new garage door isn’t an option, add character to the building with a pergola, new lighting or fresh paint.

Install a prefab trellis.

For exterior design on a dime, use an arbor or trellis to give form to your yard and complement your plantings.

Power-wash exterior surfaces.

Take a weekend to clean your home’s exterior. Aluminum, wood and vinyl siding are safe surfaces to power-wash, as are wood decks and concrete sidewalks. If you don’t own a power-washer, you can rent one from your local home improvement store.

Coordinate hardware.

Address numbers, mailboxes, locksets and porch lights are simple upgrades. These elements are small but add a lot of finesse to your look. Keep the colors and finishes consistent so the pieces look like an ensemble of accessories, not a batch of mismatched hardware.

Plant trees.

If you’re preparing to sell your house, consider adding a few small ornamental trees. If you’re staying put, think long-term and try oaks, maples, honey locust or other large species suitable for your region. Another option: fast-growing species or small ornamental trees such as pagoda dogwood, redbud, flowering pear, river birch or Japanese maple can add dramatic interest without requiring years to become established.

Beautify the driveway.

The colors and textures of the plants shown here soften the driveway’s expanse and make it look less utilitarian. Groundcovers and low-growing plants are best in beds along the sides (or in the middle!) of the driveway.

Bring style to a slope.

Cheap-looking materials detract from a yard’s appearance. For sloped areas that need terracing, use cut stone or precast decorative wall blocks for a high-end look.

Wow with windows.

There are numerous ways to increase the appeal of your windows. Shutters add style to plain windows, while painted trim in a modern color creates playful contrast. Window boxes filled with lush foliage also bring life to a home’s exterior.

Doll-up the driveway.

For an affordable driveway face-lift, line the pavement with plant containers that can be easily updated each season. Here, solar-powered lanterns between the planters provide flexible lighting.

Source:  www.bhgrelife.com

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