Is Home Staging for You?

If you want to sell your home faster and most likely for more money, consider hiring a home stage. Home staging is not decorating or interior design. It is the act of preparing and showcasing a home for sale to attract buyers. A home should be merchandised and marketed just like any other product. Staging is a proven marketing strategy - staged homes present and show better, they sell lifestyle and emotion, and they don't give buyers a reason to offer less money. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for a move-in home. Professionally staged homes stand-out above the competition and also photograph better - a key component in online marketing. It's hard to make the mental leap from this is your home to now being a commodity on the market. Stagers are trained professionals who understand exactly what is needed to get your property prepared for sale. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than nonstaged homes. Bottom line, it is money well spent to properly prepare a house for sale.

Contact me for more useful tips if you are thinking of selling!


Donna Forest

M: 603-731-5151
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5 Common Myths about Selling

There are a number of myths about how real estate actually works. These misbeliefs can hurt your chances of selling at the right price and in a timely manner. Below are a few common misconceptions.

  1. Overpricing leads to higher offers: Quite the opposite is true. Overpriced homes sit on the market longer and end up with lower offers. They become stale listings and buyers wonder what is wrong with them.
  2. Spring is the best time to sell: Typically spring & summer were known as the selling season. However, given the lack of homes for sale, any time of the year can be the best time.
  3. If you get an offer right away then the house was underpriced: A correctly priced home will receive offers right away. After all, isn't the goal to sell the house and not have it sit on the market for weeks on end? Buyers are online constantly looking and are ready to jump when something comes on that fits their needs.
  4. Homes don't need to be prepped for sale: This couldn't be further from the truth. Most buyers want move-in condition homes. Houses that are decluttered, cleaned, and staged sell faster and for more money.
  5. Good marketing includes open houses: The reality is only 7% of buyers find their home through an open house.

Contact me for more professional advice on the right way to sell your house.


Donna Forest

M: 603-731-5151
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Top 10 Reasons to work with a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Milestone Team Professional

     It’s more than just a name you know, it’s a name you trust. The Better Homes & Gardens brand has been a trusted source for homeowners, buyers and sellers since the 1920’s.
    The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand comes with a network like no other; which means more connections to potential buyers and sellers for your next home transaction.
    We are affiliated with a network of over 12,000 affiliated real estate professionals who are united by common core values and compassionate culture… all with the main goal to serve YOU!
    We know that you are not buying a home but buying the home in which to live your best life in; our unique tools allow us to help you in that process.
    Our promise to you: to bring all the skills, credibility and marketing power that you would expect from a brand whose focus is to help you achieve your dreams of homeownership and beyond.
    Our cutting-edge tools, technology and resources will allow affiliated agents the ability to help guide you through your transaction with ease.
    As part of a great Better Homes & Gardens family, affiliated Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate agents are a step ahead on things such as interior design, outdoor design and lifestyle trends and can share this with you to help you live your best life.
    Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate listings are prominently displayed on major search platforms, and affiliated agents can promote these listings through a highly targeted digital marketing campaign to ensure they are seen by thousands of potential buyers.
    We are fueled by the desire to make a difference in our community and the world community. The Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network has teamed up with New Story, a charity devoted to building life-changing homes for impoverished families in El Salvador.
    When you work with an affiliated Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate agent, you have access to amazing discounts from companies like PODS®, Mohawk® Flooring, and ADT that you can use to help with your transition into your next home.

©2024. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Better Homes and Gardens®, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Logo, BHGRE, Be Better and Expect Better are service marks owned by Meredith Corporation and licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. The above companies are independently owned and operated from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC and Realogy Holdings Corp. and are the owners of their respective marks and logos.

It's Still a Seller's Market

What is a seller’s market? Historically a balanced market has a 6-month supply of homes for sale in which there are enough homes available for active buyers. The most recent report (Jan.) from The National Assoc. of Realtors (NAR) shows the US inventory at just a 3-month supply. NH has about a month’s supply but at least new listings are up 26% YTD thru Feb. compared to 2023. As a result of the low level of housing supply, properties sell quickly and for much higher prices. Currently there are only 975 homes for sale in the whole state of NH. Sellers are in prime position to best negotiate price and terms favorable to them. The median sales price in NH (thru 2/2024) is $460,000, up 9.5% for the same time frame last year. Will it last? Looking at the predictions of 7 home price forecasters, they are predicting, on average, a price appreciation of 3.2% for 2024.

If you are considering selling, contact me to find out why this is the ultimate time to be a seller!


Donna Forest

M: 603-731-5151
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How to Add Value Before Selling

If you are thinking about selling in the next few months, you can increase the value and desirability of your house by making upgrades and changes now. Here are a few proven strategies to help get you started.

  • Decluttering and cleaning are two of the most important and cost-effective ways to increase value. If you do nothing else, do this!
  • Kitchen and baths sell the house. Consider replacing dated light fixtures, adding a new bathroom vanity, changing out old appliances for stainless steel, updating cabinetry hardware, etc.
  • First impressions count. The landscaping & exterior appearance should be attractive and welcoming.
  • A simple and worthwhile improvement is to freshly paint rooms using neutral colors and high-quality paint.
  • Energy efficient upgrades like adding new windows and more insulation can help you net a higher sales price.

Contact me if you want more tips on how to increase buyer interest and resale value of your home.


Donna Forest

M: 603-731-5151
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It's Still a Seller's Market

It’s Still a Seller’s Market

By: Donna Forest, Broker Associate

If you are in the market looking to buy this year, you’ve probably noticed the lack of homes for sale. Case in point, there are only 9 houses for sale in the combined towns of New London, Newbury and Sunapee – and 3 are to be built (as of 4/19). New listings in the state of NH are down almost 20% compared to the first 3 months in 2022. When the supply of homes for sale are so low it creates increased competition among purchasers and keeps upward pressure on prices. And houses tend to go under contract very quickly once they hit the market. Not unsurprisingly, sales thru March in NH are down 19.7% yet the median sales price is up 3.6% to $430,000. Sales in the 3 combined towns are down 26% compared to 2022 and the median sales price is up 8.5% to $558,250.* So, should you wait to buy until prices come down? Data shows prices are increasing in much of the country and experts project home prices will rise steadily and return to more normal levels of appreciation after this year. Whether buying or selling, contact me for the latest insights into our local market.

* Figures are based on information from the Northern New England Real Estate Network, Inc. for the period 1/1/ - 3/31/22 and 1/1/-3/31/23

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News: Now is the Time

News * News* News

Now is the Time to List Your Home

According to the National Association of REALTORS, job growth and lower home prices resulted in increased contract signings in all four major US regions for two consecutive months (Dec, Jan). 

New England contract signings are up 6%. 

January was the largest month-to-month gain since June 2020. 

Buyers appear to be taking advantage of falling mortgage rates and sellers are taking advantage of the increased listing prices

This tells us: Now is a great time to list your home. 

Here’s why: The inventory remains low – so listing prices are stably high. Stable mortgage rates are inviting more buyers to enter the market. 

You will need a savvy real estate agent to set an attractive sale price. And buyers need a savvy real estate agent to find the perfect budget-friendly home.

Call The BHG Milestone Team today and find out why we're The Best Team in Town!

Price Advice from The Best Team in Town

Photo courtesy of Keeping Current Matters

How much is my home worth? 

This question is the most important asked of The Milestone Team Realtors. The answer is not as simple as “the neighbor’s house sold for X” or “I want to sell it for Y.” You want your home priced right – from the start. Too low, buyers will think “something is wrong.” Too high, buyers will be deterred – and your home may sit on the market for too long, also raising the “something is wrong” concern. Worse, priced too high can result in those incremental price adjustments – which is a buyer red-flag. Pricing a home correctly is one of the reasons to engage an experienced Realtor. Do you know that sellers who do not use a Realtor sell for significantly less than those sellers who wisely choose a Realtor from the start? Your local Milestone Team member knows the market, the neighborhoods, current trends – and how to price your home correctly so you attract strong offers and a quicker sale!

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To rent or to sell?

To rent or to sell? 

The Milestone Team has advice for you!

Should you sell your home? Should you rent your home? These are serious questions that require serious answers and expert advice. The Milestone Team is your trusted Realtor advisor to help you answer those questions! Merrimack County, and its vacation-friendly seasons, offer property owners the opportunity to rent long and short-term. Many homeowners consider offering their home as a long-term, short-term, or Airbnb rental. Before taking the leap, consider the work it takes to be a landlord:

  • Do you have the time to manage the property? Or: Do you have the resources to hire a professional property manager? (Bankrate)

  • Are you able to make repairs – and willing to be on-call for your tenants?

  • Are you staying local to be available to show the property, make repairs, or prepare the property for the next tenant?

  • Do you need to “cash out” to purchase your new home? (Bankrate) Most homeowners are not interested in carrying two mortgages.

  • Is your move temporary? (Bankrate) Renting your current home may be a wise choice – providing income while you are living elsewhere.

  • Can what you earn in rent cover your costs? You will need to ready the property for tenants, advertise, and continue to pay your mortgage, taxes, HOA fees, and insurance. And: Realize rental income is counted as income.

  • Can you handle the risks? According to Investopedia, you do risk theft or damage of your property - and carrying costs for an empty rental!

Renting your home is a decision not to be made lightly. If you are considering renting or selling, contact The Milestone Team to discuss the possibilities so you can make the best decision for you!

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It's Not Magic

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.

  • 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 characteristics that impact value, it is a guide to help the seller determine a listing price.
  • 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.
  • 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? It’s a complicated market with shifting impacts. Contact me and put my 29 years in the business to work for you!

Donna Forest, Broker - Realtor