7 Spots You Keep Missing When You Clean That Everyone Notices!

You’re immune to the dirtiest places in your home. But your guests aren’t.  Here’s what to do.

Admit it: It’s easy to get a little “Judge Judy” inside someone else’s home. We notice gunk on the floor, cobwebs in the corners, and dust on the overhead fan. But guess what? Unless you’re Adrian Monk, you’ve probably got some gunky places that your friends notice, but you don’t. (Sad trombone.)

This is why we tracked down a domestic guru to help us with this article. No matter how hard it is to find dirt hideaways on your own, a little expert advice can make it alllll OK. Jan M. Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning: A Clean House Is a Happy Home,” revealed the seven spots you’re likely to miss — and the best ways to make them presentable, stat:

1. Light fixtures. Look up. Your light fixtures are loaded with dust and dead bugs. Take them down, spritz with a cleaning solution, and wipe clean. Dougherty uses a solution of five parts water and one part Krud Kutter, a non-toxic odorless all-purpose product. (Handy tip: When making the Krud Kutter solution, put the water in first. “Otherwise it’ll bubble over,” she says.)

2. Toilet body. You probably clean your tank fairly often, but what about all the bits and pieces that surround the tank, and the floor itself? For porcelain thrones, Dougherty recommends Soft Scrub with bleach to clean the minuscule cracks that form in the glaze over time. For any non-porcelain parts, she says vinegar will do. Start with the top of the tank and spray all the way around — the lid, under the lid, the seat, down to and on the surrounding floor, and even the walls behind the toilet.

3. Dust collectors. The TV mount, picture frames, computer printer, keyboards, and remotes are great dust collectors. Use a microfiber rag that you’ve sprayed lightly with vinegar to banish it all. Vinegar isn’t electrostatically charged, so dust will take longer to return to that spot.

4. Drawer organizers. Crumbs and dirt love those little compartments. Suck them up with a handy vac, or spray with vinegar and wipe away with a rag. Don’t wait until the crumbs are three inches deep and have taken root in the drawer. If that’s the case, break it down and clean with the Krud Kutter solution.

5. Ice maker. Old ice absorbs food odors, so it’s a good idea to clean and sanitize the whole system every once in a while. Stop the machine from making more ice, pull out the ice bin, and dump the ice. Wash the bin and ice maker with vinegar, or put the bin in the dishwasher if your manual says it’s safe to do so. Wipe the ice maker with a dry rag to remove moisture.

6. Appliance handles. You touch them so many times every day. And you never think about it. Spray them all down with the Krud Kutter mix and then wipe. “One night a week, I take the knobs off the stove, remove the dish and the grease screen from the [over-the-range] microwave, and take the bowl with utensils that sits next to my stove and put them all in the dishwasher,” Dougherty says. “Do this before bed and by the morning you’ve cleaned half your kitchen, yet touched nothing.”

7. Glass and mirrors. Dougherty washes dull, smudged glass and mirrors with straight vinegar. Be aware that if you’ve been using commercial cleaners it may take “four, five, six, maybe seven cleanings with vinegar to get all the wax off the glass,” she says.

Bonus tip: “When you go into a room to clean you shouldn’t have to think. You should be able to turn up the music and rock and roll your way around the room,” Dougherty says. She uses a method she calls “The Path” — start in one corner, progress around the perimeter, and then head to the middle. Clean everything in your path as you go around the room.

By Stacey Freed

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this.  Reprinted from Houselogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

What to Expect at Closing

HR.Donna_3144CroppedIn order to take the mystery out of the closing for first time home buyers, here are some basics on the process:

  • You do a walk-through the day before or morning of the closing to ensure the house is in the same general condition as when the offer was made and things are left that were supposed to be there (e.g. appliances).
  • Your lender hires a closing agent to create a statement outlining the loan amount, loan costs, recording fees, title insurance premiums, escrows for insurance & taxes, state transfer tax, tax prorations, and the deposit.  This shows how much money you bring to close.
  • You are charged for any oil/propane/cordwood left.  This may be put on the closing statement or paid by personal check to sellers at closing.
  • Be prepared to sign lots of paperwork at the actual closing!  The money you bring to closing should be on a bank check or previously wired to the closing agent.

Your agent will help you through this process, but knowing what to expect can alleviate many concerns.  Give me a call if you want an experienced REALTOR® helping you!  603-526-4116, Donna@DonnaForest.com, www.DonnaForest.com

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate

Hilltop Place Condo Available

Enjoy all the comforts of home and no work to do when you own this easy care condo.  Bright and cheery end unit is perfectly located close to the Hilltop community building and walking distance to the New London Shopping Center.  All one floor living, the inviting dining/living room radiates hospitality with its warm wood floors and brick fireplace with propane insert.  A glassed window wall frames a sunny view to the outdoors.  The screened patio provides a tranquil setting overlooking the picturesque landscaped yard – a perfect setting for a quiet afternoon of reading.  The efficiently designed kitchen offers granite countertops and stainless appliances.  This unit is ready for the next happy owner.  Offered at $145,000.  For more photos and details, visit http://tour.circlepix.com/home/4PZWEH

009Donna Forest, Listing Broker, 603-526-4116

Looking for a positive home buying/selling experience?  Call Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate!  603-526-4116

Enjoy the Arts?

artThe Wilmot Community Association’s fourth annual Imagination into Art show will feature more than 15 local artists.  There will be a reception and silent auction on Friday, June 24th from 5-7pm in the WCA’s Red Barn.  Meet the artists while you enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres and participate in the silent auction.  Suggested donation is $15/person for the reception and is greatly appreciated.

There will be pottery, sculpture, handmade quilts, metalwork, paintings, photographs, and jewelry.

The show continues Saturday, June 25th from 9-noon.

Known for service, trusted for results – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

Welcome Home!

Come take a look at this lovely, welcoming home in Wilmot on 13 acres.  Antique cape with 3+ bedrooms, great room and comfortable screened porch.  The grounds are beautiful and there’s a 3 car garage, barn and 1,000+ feet on the Blackwater River.  Offered at $290,000. for more information and photos, visit http://tour.circlepix.com/home/JA8BRD

TawneyEmily Campbell, Listing Agent, 603-526-4116

Teamwork from the team that works the hardest for both buyers and sellers!

Looking to Build a Home and Need Land?

Take a look at this mostly level, wooded, 6.1 acre lot in wonderful Wilmot.  Peaceful, well-established neighborhood.  Walk to nearby Pleasant Lake and the lovely village of Elkins.  Minutes to New London shops.  Convenient to Route 11, I-89 and Route 4A for an easy commute to Concord or the Upper Valley.  Mount Sunapee skiing and Mount Kearsarge hiking – a fifteen minute drive away!  Live here and play here!  Offered at $89,000.

Smith1Anne Marie Appel, Listing Agent, 603-526-4116

“Word of Mouth” is the best advertisement, and we love it when you refer your friends and family to Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

Looking for Backyard Ideas? These will Make Your Small Space Seem Bigger

Don’t think of your microscopic yard as a curse. So what if it’s technically a small concrete slab that baaarely accommodates a half-sized Weber grill? Or if your flagstone patio is just big enough for you, a lounge chair, and a good book? Your tiny outdoor spot is actually an opportunity to get creative.

To live large with a small footprint, try these functional tweaks to make your minuscule outdoor space feel like a palatial retreat.

1. Divide the Space

Wait, what? That’s right. Even if your square footage is relatively small, dividing your outdoor space into two areas can actually make it seem bigger.

“Creating a space within a space makes it seem larger because it gives you a separate experience,” says Joy Diaz, chief marketing officer at Land Care Inc.

Diaz recommends a small wood pergola, which you can purchase at home improvement stores or even build yourself without too much effort. You can also use walls to divide the space. We’re not talking about bulky concrete barriers here — try using short trellises, arbors, or vine-covered wooden fences to separate your loungers from your patio table.

“It says, ‘I’m in one place, that’s another place, and if there’s room for two places it must be big,’” says J. Scott Williams, a landscape architect at YardApes in New Milford, Conn.

As an added bonus, walls prevent visitors from walking in a straight line from one end of the patio to another, instead creating a winding path that makes your small space feel expansive.

2. Plant a Privacy Screen

A peaceful space always feels roomier than one crowded with noise and other distractions — like the pressure to strike up an awkward conversation every time you lock eyes with the nice lady next door. Keep your evening soirées and morning coffee blissfully secluded with a few cleverly positioned plants.

There are a few ways to achieve this goal. Along the very edges of your space, plant a tall, wide bush, like the purple smoke bush, a fantastic, easy-to-care-for container plant that can grow six or seven feet every year. Just be sure to keep on top of trimmings to keep it from overgrowing your patio — you want it growing up, not out — but as long as you do so, it makes an excellent privacy screen.

“A larger plant in a small space is dramatic,” says Williams.

You can also privatize your patio without sacrificing any square footage with the oldest trick in the book: Install some climbing vines on a trellis to clearly tell your neighbors, “This is my special space.”

3. Add a Water Feature

A dramatic focal point can really add some intrigue to a mini yard. And a water feature, like a bubbling birdbath or wall fountain, can do just the trick.

Williams suggests choosing an element with a black bottom, which will create a darker surface that reflects sky and trees, making your outdoor space feel bigger. Just make sure your water feature doesn’t overwhelm your porch — you can skip the long, vanishing edge-style pool.

“I wouldn’t put a longer element in a small space, which might make it look smaller,” Williams said. “Add a smaller water element into a small space, and make it seem larger.”

4. Use Vertical Space

Distract from your lack of horizontal yardage by really maximizing your outdoor space’s most abundant dimension: vertical space.

Use your walls, fence, or railings as extra space by adding vines or a living wall filled with flowers, herbs, and other eye-catching greenery. For a simple change, prop an attractive ladder — think barnyard chic, maybe? — against the wall and use its rungs as shelving for plants or other decor. The internet is bursting with other vertical planter and shelving ideas, too, using everything from pallets to chicken wire.

“It draws the eye up and outwards, and gives it a green and completely different look,” says Diaz. “It can change the atmosphere of the area. You’ve walked into a different experience from your home — it’s a psychological and emotional change.”

5. Expand Space with a Mirror

“Mirrors really make space feel more expansive,” Williams says. On a small porch, place a tall mirror on the ground behind a portico or a patch of greenway, which “makes it look like a doorway into another garden.”

You don’t need to go huge on the mirror to have a huge impact. Even hanging a normal-sized mirror, like one you might find over a dresser, can make a tiny space feel much larger. But whichever you choose, make sure to weatherproof your mirror first using a mirror edge sealer (you’ll also want to add sealant to the frame, especially if it’s made from wood) to prevent moisture damage — unless you like the weathered look, that is.

Small spaces don’t have to be limiting. With a little bit of creativity — and perhaps a reflective surface or two — there’s no reason you can’t feel like you’re living in your very own Versailles.

By:  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®

Real estate markets are local, and we have the real scoop on ours.  Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate

Looking for a View from the Top?

If views and privacy are on the top of your list, then look no further!  This well-maintained post and beam cape is set amidst 20 acres of natural beauty with impressive mountain views and a home anyone would be proud to call their own.  This location was too special to build the ordinary.  Rustic and refined elements come together to create a feeling of peace and tranquility.  Wood beams frame cathedral ceilings, yellow pine floors glow, and the back is all oriented to the views.  Cooking is a delight in this updated kitchen with cherry cabinets, soapstone countertops, and stainless steel appliances.  Made for casual entertaining with its open concept floor plan, large outdoor decks, and a fun-size pool room.  It is the perfect blend of privacy and convenience – a long private driveway puts you worlds away yet you are minutes to New London amenities or I-89 access.  Offered at $549,000.  For more photos and details, visit www.ViewHomeNH.com.

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CorporationRd-0011-HDRDonna Forest, Listing Broker, 603-526-4116

Teamwork from the Team that works – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.

What to do BEFORE You Sell Your Home

HR.Donna_3144CroppedYes, it is true, housing inventory is tighter than normal.  It’s not REALTORS just trying to get your business.  While many houses have moved off the market quickly, this doesn’t mean every house is snatched up as soon as it is for sale.  Overpriced and unprepared homes still sit on the market.  If you want to sell, you need to get your home in order.  When you put your house on the market you are entering a price war and a beauty contest. The ideal way to compete is to offer your house in the best condition at the best price.  Visualize this – a buyer looks at 6 homes similarly priced.  Three aredated and tired in appearance, two are somewhat updated but still need work, and the sixth one is immaculate and renovated.  Guess which one will attract the buyer?!

As a seller, you need to assess what improvements/repairs are needed.  Your agent can help determine what projects will have the most value to buyers.  And you can help determine what projects will have the most value to buyers.  And you should get the work done prior to putting the house on the market.

The old adage is true, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”  Having your home in top notch condition and properly priced will help position you for a successful and timely sale.  Contact me for a free Home Enhancement Guide and more practical advice on prepping a house!  603-526-4116, Donna@DonnaForest.com, www.DonnaForest.com.

Looking for a positive home buying/selling experience?  Call Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate!  603-526-4116

Looking for a Fixer Upper?

This charming cottage needs extensive renovations, but could be a gem when restored back to its original splendor!  Many original features intact, but requires a major overhaul.  Priced accordingly and well below assessed value.  Location can’t be beat – dead-end road with the Vernondale Store and Kezar Lake a stone’s throw from your enormous wraparound porch.  Light-filled with a great floor plan.  Something to be proud of when you’re finished!  Offered at $105,000.  For more photos and details, visit http://tour.circlepix.com/home/L7AETT

???????????????????????????????Anne Marie Appel, Listing Agent, 603-526-4116

Teamwork from the Team that works – Coldwell Banker Milestone Real Estate.