Housing Predictions for 2018

As we approach the end of 2017, there are a number of articles out with predictions on what the 2018 housing market will bring, based on the opinions of economists and housing experts.  While no one can say for sure, it sounds like it could be similar to what we experienced this year.  Below are some of the highlights.

  • Interest rates are expected to gradually rise from around 4% to 4.5% by end of year.
  • Low inventory will continue to be a challenge for buyers.
  • Millennials could be the most active home buyers in 2018 and they will be looking in higher density, amenity-rich neighborhoods.
  • Baby boomers haven’t downsized as much as anticipated.  Some speculate this is due to the fact they are working longer and also desire to age in place and not move.
  • Home values are expected to grow – some predict 3.2% and others are at 4.7%.

 Whether buying or selling, contact me if you’d like to know how the market could impact you.  Donna@DonnaForest.com; www.DonnaForest.com; 603-526-4116.

“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.

Is It a Buyer's or Seller's Market?

The answer is “yes”.  It is both depending on the property you are trying to buy or sell.  I know, the news is full of stories on the shortage of inventory, high demand, and rising prices.  The truth is the type of market you face is dependent on the price point and condition.  In general, our area does not have enough listings in the price range for the bulk of buyers who are buying.  Home prices have reached unaffordable levels for many 1st time buyers.  And the downsizing baby boomers have specific needs (newer, 1st floor master, near town amenities, mostly under $400k) for which there is pretty low inventory. 

Overall, sales are about the same as 2016 in New London, Sunapee, & Newbury, mainly due to lack of desirable inventory.  New London is actually down from last year YTD, thru Oct.  With a median price of $342,000 in these 3 towns combined and an average days on market of 127 days, it can be confusing to understand what type of market is in play. 

Bottom line, buyers trying to find a move-in ready home under $300k are in a sellers’ market.  Sellers with homes that don’t fit the desired condition and price for the bulk of buyers are in a buyers’ market.   Whether buying or selling, contact me if you want to know what you are facing!

Figures are based on information from the Northern New England Real Estate Network, Inc. for the period 1/1/16 thru 10/31/16 and 1/1/17 thru 10/31/17.

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

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.