Yes, the real estate market is still alive and people are moving. Buyers are out looking and interest rates are historically low. Houses are being listed for sale and most seem to be going under contract fairly quickly. While the market is not as robust as it typically would be for this time of year, it is fairly active given current conditions. True, some sellers have temporarily pulled their homes off the market and some buyers are delaying their search for a month or so. However, the housing inventory faced a shortage before the pandemic and this is still the case. Which means home prices remain strong and it is still a sellers’ market.
The process has changed but the results are the same. Virtual tours, Zoom meetings, FaceTime, protocols requiring masks & gloves for actual showings, remote closings, etc. The industry has adapted to ensure properties can still be safely sold. If you are thinking about buying or selling, contact me for help in creating a safe and effective plan for success in today’s market. 603-526-4116; www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com
The answer is a definite “yes.” Realtors have adapted to our new reality and almost everything has shifted to a virtual platform. Below are some of the changes we are seeing.
- Agents and clients meet via video chats vs. in person.
- Virtual tours of homes have become an even more important marketing feature.
- Documents are filled out & signed electronically using electronic signature programs like Dot Loop or DocuSign.
- There are safety procedures in place for showings. Buyers remove shoes, sanitize their hands and don’t touch anything in the house, viewing times are limited, only people essential to the purchase are allowed in, and agents will ask both sellers and buyers if they have traveled in the last 14 days, been around anyone who is sick, or are sick themselves. Masks may be required as well.
- Closings can still occur. Paperwork can be sent out ahead of time for signatures or even done in a parking lot in your own car; monies can be wired.
- Home inspectors limit who can be in the house during the inspection. Exterior only appraisals may be accepted by some lenders.
- Buyers and sellers need to be aware the loan processing could take longer. There could be delays beyond our control so set your expectations accordingly.
Some sellers will pull their house off the market and some buyers will put their search on hold until we are through this health crisis. While it is not business as usual, adjustments are made so buying and selling can still be a reality. Give me a call for any real estate needs you may have. 603-526-4116; www.DonnaForest.com; Donna@DonnaForest.com
“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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.