On the fence about Selling this Fall?

If you are thinking about selling and wondering if it would be better to wait until spring, here are few reasons why it may make sense to list now:

  • There are fewer homes for sale which means less competition for your property.
  • There may not be as many buyers out looking but those who are house hunting are serious buyers.
  • Prices are expected to appreciate 5% over the next year (CoreLogic).  If you are moving to a higher priced home, it could cost more if you wait.
  • The process will be quicker as lenders and appraisers are not swamped this time of year.

If you feel it’s time to move on with your life then it may not be worth waiting for the spring market.  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 The Milestone Team advantage any time of year.  Donna Forest 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

Getting to Yes

I recently spent 2 days at a class put on by the Real Estate Business Institute to become a certified negotiation expert and thought it would be good to share some points made during this time.  Some might just surprise you!

  • Negotiations are really between the two agents and not the buyers & sellers.  While the goal is for each to get the best possible outcome based on their clients’ needs and wants, the reality is that it is the two agents who are communicating with each who make it happen.  How well the agents negotiate with each other can make or break it for their clients.
  • In any negotiation, you need to know if the market conditions are with or against you.  For example, if you are a buyer in a sellers’ market, the market may push you to make decisions quickly.
  • If a deal gets “deadlocked”, sometimes taking a time-out is helpful to allow everyone to re-group and re-assess their wants and needs.
  • There are always at least 2 negotiation points in a sale – the first with the offer and the 2nd after the home inspections.
  • The best negotiator will focus on the fix and not the fight.

Contact me if you’d like to have a skilled negotiator working on your side to help achieve your “yes”!  Donna Forest 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.

Mudroom Design Ideas for Better Storage

People often assume that the kitchen or living room is at the heart of the home, but when you see these ideas to help corral the chaos in your mudroom, you might decide that the area just inside your front door is the true command center of your house. If you don’t have a dedicated room or hallway carved out for a purpose-built mudroom, don’t despair: a few hooks, storage baskets and designated shoe racks can make all the difference in a house where multiple family members use—and abuse—the front hallway as a dumping ground. Good mudroom design can be just what you need to corral clutter and get an entryway you—and potential home buyers—absolutely love.

Establish a mudroom zone

Even homes with grand entries sometimes find themselves challenged by the lack of front- or back-door space to store daily necessities. A few options can help. A slim drawer underneath a bench offers a spot to stash seasonal items. With no room for traditional shoe storage solutions, boots and other footwear sit close by; place them in a tray to catch loose moisture and dirt. A tray makes it easy to clean up melted snow or mud that comes in on boots; simply take the entire tray outside to dump accumulated dirt or snow, then replace.

Use baskets for outdoor items

It makes sense to have some items close at hand for out-of-house comings and goings. A shelf above coat storage in this mudroom has space for containers with various items such as sunscreen, bandages and more. Keep similar items, such as bug spray, together and label the containers (adhesive or tied-on tags work well). You might also consider assigning a basket to each member of your family, then letting them use it however they like to corral their personal clutter

Tuck shoes out of the way

Although it’s handy to have all mudroom storage together, sometimes a dedicated shoe-storage solution just isn’t feasible. Instead, carve out nooks and crannies where you can. A small recessed area offers a just-right spot for multiple shoe shelves. 

Sliding shelves are a useful tool in mudrooms, too, helping to streamline access to items. Choose heavy-duty, easy-to-clean surfaces in a mudroom, particularly for the floor, that rely on color and texture to mask any messes or daily dirt. And don’t forget to put a tray under a shoe rack to catch the debris from several rows of shoes above.

Use extra storage for essentials

Some mudrooms are hidden and expansive enough to store more than just coats and shoes. For peculiarly shaped items that may not easily stay grouped—toilet paper, for example—use decorative baskets (lidded or not) to keep them in order. 

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

Source:  www.bhgre.com/bhgrelife

Small Touches – Big Differences

Want a higher price and shorter time on the market for your home?  You should be staging your house by adding decorative touches and updates.  Here are a few “To Do’s” before going on the market:

  • Have your Realtor go room to room making suggestions for improvement.  Ask them to be honest and be prepared for constructive criticism.   
  • Pay attention to the kitchen.  Put away cookbooks, utensils, excess cooking machines, etc.  Put new hardware on the cabinets for a quick update.  Clean off windowsills, organize cabinets.
  • Update bedrooms and baths.  Buy new bedcovers.  Add a new shower curtain with matching towels.  Clear off countertops, nightstands, and dressers. 
  • Boost curb appeal with fresh mulch, potted flowers, add new exterior lighting, and paint the front door.

 Remember, first impressions count.  If this sounds like too much for you to attempt, there are professional staging companies in the area that can do as much or as little as you’d like.  Simple changes can have a big impact on the appeal of your home.  Contact me if you’d like more advice on selling. 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.

Thinking of selling your home and worried you’ll regret it?

Selling your house can be scary: It’s been your home, where you’ve lived and made memories. Chances are good it’s your most important asset and your biggest investment so far. Wrestling with the emotional heft of putting your home on the market is a difficult byproduct of real estate — but once a closing date has been set, the hard work is done. Right?

Actually, it’s not uncommon for sellers to feel pangs of regret when a buyer gets serious. If you’re feeling remorse for your soon-to-be-former home, don’t panic: You’re far from alone.

“When you’re selling a house, you’re not selling an object,” says Bill Primavera, a REALTOR® in Westchester County, N.Y., and “The Home Guru” blogger. “A house provides shelter and is probably the biggest thing we ever acquire, so it has a bigger impact on our life.”

The Origins of Seller's Remorse

Moving is one of life’s biggest stressors. According to Daryl Cioffi, a Rhode Island counselor and co-owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting, it’s one of the biggest instigators for depression.

“There’s a lot of latent stuff that happens when change occurs,” Cioffi says. Are you feeling insecure? Are you wondering if you made the right decision? Those feelings are normal reactions to change — but when they get tangled up with the sale of your biggest investment, they can be downright terrifying.

Related: 9 Feelings That Are Totally Normal When You Sell Your Home

Here are some things you can do to help you manage the emotional roller coaster that comes with selling your home:

Do the Emotional Work Beforehand

Doing the emotional work before it’s time to sell is the best way to avoid regret.

“Look at the flaws of what makes it not the perfect home for you,” Cioffi says. Is it just too small for your family? Does your Great Dane need a bigger backyard? Ask yourself, “How can I close this chapter?”

That doesn’t mean you have to develop negative feelings toward your current home. You’re just trying to remind yourself of why you decided to move on.
Here's how to cope:

“Begin the detachment process by saying: ‘This works for me now, but it won’t work for me forever,’” Cioffi says.

Once you’ve processed your reasons for selling the home, give yourself space to grieve the house you’ve loved and the memories you’ve made inside its walls. It’s OK to be sad you’ll never step inside your child’s first bedroom again; conversely, that’s not a reason to stay in a home forever. You can even have fun with your grief. Why not acknowledge your feelings by throwing a goodbye party for your house?

Focus On the Future

Working through your feelings early will make the selling process smoother, but even if you spent time grieving before putting your home on the market, it’s still normal to feel some pangs of sadness during closing. While it’s easy to tell yourself you’re overreacting, getting past remorse isn’t a simple process.

How can you do it? Say goodbye to your old home and prepare yourself for what’s next. If you’re still feeling remorse after the sale has gone through, don’t overthink it: Even if you did make the wrong decision — and chances are good you didn’t — it doesn’t matter. The deed is, quite literally, done.

The next step is distraction. If you’ve already moved into your new home, throw yourself into fixing it up. Redo the shelving in the kitchen. Start a garden. Primavera recommends taking your mind off of homes completely by picking up a new hobby or exploring your new neighborhood to find fun activities, like yoga or pottery classes.

“Keep your mind focused on what’s ahead,” says Cioffi. “The fact is, it’s done. Now what? Look forward and focus on how you can make this new place something to be excited about.”

If you’re still having problems adjusting to your new life, your old home might just be a stand-in for bigger problems: Perhaps a depression worsened by moving, or it has triggered anxiety about your life in general. A long-term struggle to resolve your grief indicates you should speak with a professional counselor about your situation.

Cioffi says a good therapist will help you answer the questions, “What’s going on that you can’t let go?” and “What’s keeping you from moving forward?”

No matter how deep your seller’s remorse may be, uncovering the reasons behind it and focusing on the future are the best ways to let go of the stress of leaving a former home behind. Give yourself time to get used to the change and focus on creating new memories. After all, the happy life you had in the home you sold was the reason you loved it so much. Someday, with a new set of memories made, you’ll love your new home just as deeply.

By J

is a writer and editor with a focus on home improvement and design. Previously, she worked as a web editor for “House Beautiful,” “ELLE Decor,” and “Veranda.”

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the National Association of REALTORS

3 Tips to Avoid Last Minute Stress

Selling and in the throes of packing and moving?  Below are some helpful tips to help get through those final days so you don't end up creating more work for yourself at the last minute.

1.  Don't leave personal items unless the buyers agreed to it.  While you may think you are doing them a favor by leaving that sofa and bar stools, the buyers could view it differently.  You don't want to be coming back to remove things right before the closing. Always check first.

2.  Leftover paint, tile, and cleaning supplies.  All useful for the new owners, right?  Again, confirm that buyers want it left.  It's not that easy to get rid of this stuff at the eleventh hour.

3.  You may be closing in a week, but you still need to maintain the yard.  Having buyers pull up to a house with foot high grass to do their walk-through inspection could be contentious.

Thinking of selling?  Contact me and put my 23 years of real estate knowledge to work for 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

Setting Up an Effective, Beautiful Entryway

The entryway of your home holds a lot of power. Although it’s a small portion of your house, it’s the first thing people see when they walk through the door. If your guests are greeted with a pile of shoes and a heap of clutter, it can make the entire atmosphere seem chaotic. Instead, you want your entryway to be welcoming and beautiful. However, with so many essentials needing to be near the front door and with such a little space to work with, it can be hard to find a way to make the entryway effective as well as stunning. Fortunately, with these entryway ideas, you’ll see just how easy it is to turn your entryway into a practical masterpiece.

Open the Space with a Large Mirror

Entryways are small. The area is often crowded, and even more so when you have a plethora of guests arriving. However, hanging a large mirror on the wall will open up the space, making it seem significantly larger. It can also distract people from a small entryway. In addition, natural lighting from your front door will reflect in the mirror, making the space appear lighter and more inviting.

Separate the Entry from the Entryway

When people enter your home, they stop just after the front door. They take off their shoes, remove their jackets, set down their keys and handbags. This can quickly make your entryway crowded, especially if it’s a small space.  Designate a portion of the entryway for practicality. Move the shoe racks away from the front door so people can enter without tripping. Also, trade in the floor coat rack for one mounted on the wall to free up more floor space. It’ll make coming and going within your home easy.

Prioritize and Organize

Decide what actually needs to be in the entryway. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, consider moving it elsewhere, even if it’s just down the hall from the front door. Look beyond the large furniture pieces. The smallest items can sometimes be the biggest culprits, taking away from the aesthetics of your entryway. Hats, mitts, scarves, magazines, newspapers, flyers, and anything else that is currently being collected in a heaping pile of stuff should be moved.  Install more hooks in the hallway. Additionally, place decorative baskets to hide the clutter.

Add in a Multi-Purpose Storage Bench

Multi-purpose furniture pieces are excellent, especially in smaller areas of the home. A storage bench is the perfect piece of furniture for entryways. It allows your guests to sit down to remove or put on their shoes, while you get the added benefit of hidden storage compartments. Storage benches also come in various shapes and styles. Some look like actual benches whereas others look like vintage trunks. Either way, they’re perfect for your entryway.

Display Personality

Don’t put everything away. Your entryway should still showcase the things that make your house a home. Hang photos on the wall and little mementos with sentimental value. The best decorating tip is to make your home perfect for you.

Your entryway doesn’t have to resemble that of a schoolyard when the recess bell rings and all the kids are trying to squeeze through the door at once. Gone are the days of tripping over shoes. With a little TLC and these decorating ideas, your entryway can be just as practical as it is beautiful.

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

Source:  www.bhgre.com

Is Home Staging for You?

If you want to sell your home faster and most likely for more money, consider hiring a home stager.  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, but somehow this is woefully overlooked by most sellers.  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.  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@DonnaForest.com, www.DonnaForest.com, 526-4116

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

Renovating? 4 Ways to Stay Zen While Living in a Disaster Zone

Simple ideas so you can enjoy your home despite the dust and chaos of remodeling.

Congrats! You finally got that fixer-upper you’ve been eyeing like you used to do to your high-school crush. Now it’s yours, but your budget’s tight, so you’re planning to move in and live there as you remodel.

Wow, that’s a stressful thought.  Just thinking about it makes you feel exhausted and excited at the same time. Sigh. Well, you can let your excitement win that battle with these four strategies to ease the stress of living in the middle of a construction zone:

#1 Designate a Place for Stuff You Need to Move out of the Way

Homeowners ride an emotional roller coaster during a remodeling project, says Dave Lupberger, veteran remodeler who wrote the book, “Managing the Emotional Homeowner.”

To give your emotions some grounding, come up with an organization plan. It’s a lot easier (less stressful) to renovate when you’ve got the room. 

Think about it:

Where are you going to put your piles of pots and pans until your kitchen cabinets are ready

Set up a storage place that’s reserved for stuff that needs relocating as you move from project to project. Such as:

  • Install an organization system in the basement or garage.
  • Reserve one room (future guest room?) if you can.
  • Rent a pod; you can even keep it at your home.

For items you’ll need to use more frequently throughout renovations, build shelves in closets or create storage space under a window seat or banquette bench.

#2 Make the Space You'll Live In a True Retreat

Maybe your master bedroom or kitchen will need a total remodel in a few years, but other rooms of the house need more attention now.

Because you spend the most time in your bedroom and kitchen, take this opportunity to make at least one of them really cozy with a quick makeover before diving into any heavy-duty projects elsewhere.

The fastest way to change a room is with paint and accessories. Use paint to create an accent wall in your bedroom and try your hand at crown molding to make a room seem polished. You can even add new lighting for ambiance.

In the kitchen, paint the cabinets, add new hardware, and — voilà! — you have a new kitchen. Install a backsplash over a weekend, and one of your most commonly used rooms will feel peacefully polished — even if there’s chaos right down the hall.

#3 Make a Door One of Your First Projects

Your new home might be a mess inside, but you can feel great about pulling into your driveway.

A new front door, or newly-painted one will remind you how much of an impact your work is making on your home. And give you a reason to smile as you walk through the door.

#4 Create Outdoor Places to Escape to

Have a spring move in?

If you have months of good weather ahead, take advantage of your new yard to create a retreat where can truly get away from the clamor of renovation project. Some simple ideas:

  • On your patio or deck, go ahead and “furnish” it — even if it’s just a few lawn chairs. 
  • Create a picnic spot on a nice shaded spot.
  • Hang a swing.
  • Turn a shed into a temporary hideout


writes about homes, design, remodeling, and construction for online and print national trade and consumer publications, including “Better Homes & Gardens.” Previously, she was a senior editor at “Remodeling” magazine. Follow Stacey on Twitter.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the National Association of REALTORS.

Top 5 Selling Mistakes to Avoid

There are common mistakes many sellers make when they go to sell.  As a professional with over 23 years of experience, here are my top 5 picks sellers should avoid.

1.  Overpricing.  It's the kiss of death in any market.  Be realistic in your pricing.

2.  Not getting the house ready to sell.  Don't expect to sell if you have done nothing to prep it for the market.  De-clutter, update, paint, repair, the list goes on.  Ask your REALTOR what you need to do before putting it on the market.

3.  Being emotionally attached.  Yes, your house is your home - except for when you go to sell.  Your house is now a commodity that is competing with other properties for a buyer.

4.  Not trusting your REALTOR.  Listen to and solicit advice from your agent.  We do this for a living day in and day out; take advantage of our knowledge.

5.  Ignoring lowball offers.  Don't be insulted with a low offer.  Set emotions aside and view it as a starting point for negotiations.

If you are thinking of selling, then contact me.  As an Accredited Seller Representative Specialist, I can provide you with invaluable advice on getting your house sold.  603-526-4116, Donna@DonnaForest.com, www.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.