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Date Archives: October 2021

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Home Buyer Tips | 63 Posts
Home Seller Tips | 73 Posts
Homeowner Tips | 55 Posts
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Shreveport, LA | 5 Posts
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October
29

Many sellers assume the state of the market and rate environment will ultimately dictate the sale price of the home. While these two items do play a major factor, there are still many things the seller can do to generate a nice return.

However, boosting your sale price isn't always easy — and it often requires a significant investment in time and maybe even money. However, with the right upgrades, you can go a long way towards maximizing your sale price. Below are just a few of the ways sellers can independently boost the return on their home sale:

  • Start With Your Curb Appeal
    Your curb appeal speaks to how the facade of your home is perceived from the street. It encompasses everything from your front door, windows, siding, porch, mailbox, lawn, and landscaping — in other words, all of the first things a potential buyer sees when pulling up to your home or checking out your listing online.

    In order to make a good first impression, improve your facade. Paint your front door and clean your siding. Make sure your landscaping is well maintained, and add a new mailbox. When it comes to improving curb appeal, the little things can really add up.

  • Maximize Space
    While you can't increase the square footage of your home without major renovations, there are many easy upgrades that can either increase your space or even create the illusion that your home is more spacious.

    The first step is to declutter. Go through your home and remove junk and any unwanted items. If you're not ready to part with your things, renting a storage unit is a great way to declutter temporarily.

    Maximizing light exposure is also a big one. Bright rooms appear larger. Make sure to open all windows and window treatments and add artificial lighting to dimly lit rooms. Mirrors also reflect light, which can make the room appear larger as well.

  • Stay Neutral
    When selling your home, you ultimately want to create an environment that enables the buyer to envision living in the space. If you really want to increase your sale price, make sure to stick to neutral colors and decor. Off-white or light gray paint and furniture are a great way to go. Also, be sure to store away any personal items, photos, awards, pets, or pet supplies, as these items will make the home appear unfamiliar.

  • Make Upgrades
    Minor repairs and small upgrades are a no-brainer — doorknobs, new paint, and landscaping are all easy upgrades to help boost value. Depending on the condition of your home and appliances, it might be worth springing for some larger upgrades as well. When upgrading old appliances, adding attic insulation, or replacing flooring, you stand to boost your sale price to the point where you can realize a nice return on your investment.

The process of selling your home often begins weeks or months before your home hits the market. However, investing time and money up front can go a long way towards boosting your sale price regardless of the market conditions.

October
26

The Scary Truth About Home Inspections

When you're buying a home, the home inspection is your best opportunity to identify any problems - or potential problems - with the property that you're going to purchase. The process can feel really daunting, because the home inspector is always going to find problems - but the good news is, most of the things they will find are minor issues that can be easily repaired or negotiated. 

While most issues are minor, there are a few things that could come up that are potential dealbreakers. With Halloween just a few days away, we thought we would share five of the scariest words and phrases that can appear on a home inspection report. 

Foundation Issues

Foundation issues can be a serious - and very expensive - issue. Your home inspector will look for signs of foundation issues, including doors and windows that stick, cracks in walls above doorways, sloping floors, and L-shaped or horizontal cracks in the visible parts of the exterior foundation. 

Mold

While surface mold in poorly ventilated bathrooms is normal, black mold is a different story entirely. When black mold is present in a home, it's usually indicative of a complicated and costly problem with the home's foundation or plumbing. Black mold is both difficult and expensive to remove and can cause serious health complications if left unchecked. 

Pest Problems

No homebuyer wants to see signs of pests or rodents, but termites or other wood-eating insects can cause significant structural damage to a home. Home inspectors are trained to spot signs of termites, but if you have specific concerns you can perform a seperate termite inspection with a pest control company for peace of mind. 

Electrical Issues

Minor electrical issues are common on home inspections: electrical wiring such as reverse polarity, missing junction boxes, and damaged receptacles. If you're purchasing an older home, the home inspector should check for inferior aluminum wiring, a concern that could cause headaches down the road when you need electrical work done. 

Plumbing Problems

Damaged pipes, failing water heaters, and sewage backups are expensive to fix and can lead to secondary issues, (i.e. mold). Some minor issues may be resolvable but there are types of plumbing pipes that are prone to failure and costly to replace. 

Do any of these surprise you?

October
26

September 2021 Market Overview
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, Desoto Parishes only)

To view or download the full report click here.

September Summary:  Sales demand slowed a little.  Average price held steady.  Inventory levels declined.

Sales:  September posted a historically strong sales month with 474 closings but it was a slow-down compared to recent activity and September last year.  The 5 year average for September is 416 but here lately we have seen over 500+ sales each month since February; and last year there were 571 sales in September. So still a solid month for closings but a bit of a retreat compared to where we have been. This isn't much of a surprise though as pending sales have been trending down the last few months. Sales are still well ahead of last year by +15%.  Looking at the data tables below, you will see that Caddo is up 18% and Bossier up 14% versus last year. Sales in Desoto parish continue to lag due to the very low inventory available for sale in Desoto Parish. Currently, there are only 29 available listings on the market in all price ranges in Desoto parish. Caddo and Bossier parishes had been seeing their inventory levels climb somewhat these last few months but they declined slightly in September back to the same level we had in June.  This is fairly typical for the fall season to see buyer demand start to slow and less listings hit the market but overall we are still very much in a seller's market.

Unit Sales YTD by price range vs. last year:

Inventory:  Inventory bottomed in Q2 of this year and has been rising slightly over the last few months.  However, fewer listings hit the market in September causing the inventory level to decline for the first time since June.  There are now 881 active listings on the market versus 957 last month and 1,236 last year.  With 474 homes sold in September and only 881 currently on the market, the Monthly Supply (using the 12 month trailing average) of homes is now 1.8 which is down one tick from the 1.9 level last month. This is still incredibly low though for the Shreveport-Bossier market.  Just 12 months ago, the monthly supply was 2.9, and two years ago it was 5.2. There were 515 new homes that came on the market in September in all price ranges but the majority were put under contract shortly after hitting the market.  There are currently 730 properties in pending sale status.  This pending and new listing activity will be important metrics to watch as the remainder of the year unfolds.  Normally these will slow down during the holidays but 2021 has been anything but normal.

Prices: With the continued low inventory and strong sales activity in the higher price ranges, the average home price continues to hold its increased level. The average home price in September was $221,564 versus $196,458 last year. On a price per square foot basis, sale prices in September averaged $110.52 per sq.ft. versus $99.67 last year.  

September 2021 Comparative Market Statistics
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, Desoto Parishes Only)
September 2021 Absorption Rates
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, & Desoto Parishes Only)

The following figures are through the month of September 2021

Currently, there are 881 total homes for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 503 homes have sold per month on average.
That's a 1.8 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 516 homes came on the market.
Currently there are 260 homes priced below $100,000 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 79 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 3.3 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 82 homes came on the market in this price range.
Currently there are 278 homes priced between $100,000 and $199,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 182 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 1.5 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 174 homes came on the market in this price range.
Currently there are 137 homes priced between $200,000 and $299,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 144 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 1.0 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 161 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 81 homes priced between $300,000 and $399,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 58 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's an 1.4 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 49 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 38 homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 23 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 1.7 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 27 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 87 homes priced above $500,000 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 17 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 5.0 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 23 homes came on the market in this price range.
Important Note: A 6 month supply is considered to be a balanced market.
Under 6 months is a seller's market.
Over 6 months is a buyer's market.
 
Data Source: Northwest Louisiana Association of Realtors MLS, Inc 10/12/2021
Author: Brad Gosslee of Coldwell Banker Gosslee
Information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.
October
25

HALLOWEEN LESSON

Halloween is just a few short days away. Somehow we've made it to my favorite holiday of the year and I know we are looking forward to celebrating with our kids. In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to put our current housing market in terms of trick-or-treating.

Imagine this:

  • For a variety of reasons, there are more kids out knocking on doors looking for treats.
  • At the same time, nobody is home in about 40% fewer homes than last year.
  • The increased number of kids could only get candy at homes where people were home.
  • Eventually, the homeowner ran out of candy. Only those who got candy were happy.
  • The value of the acquired candy rose because there just wasn't enough for every kid.

Here is how that Halloween scenario continues to play out in local real estate:

  • For a variety of reasons, there are more buyers in the market.
  • This group of buyers has about 40% fewer homes available for purchase.
  • The increased number of buyers can only make offers on available homes.
  • Eventually, in a bidding war, only one buyer will get the home. Others will make offers on other homes.
  • Prices rise because of demand.

Now that I've lived my dream of comparing housing to Halloween, I want to take a closer look at the market. Let's start with demand, which I equate with sales.

The demand for homes is still extremely strong. In Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes there were 474 sales last month. This was ahead of the five-year September average of 416 sales. And, for the entire year, we have currently sold 4,579 homes, up 15% over 2020. With that said, we are not as strong as last September when our region saw 571 sales. And this is the first month since February that we didn't sell at least 500 homes industry wide.

Caddo Parish is booming with 2,607 homes sold through the first nine months of the year. This is up 18% over last year. Bossier Parish is up 14% to 1,827 homes sold while Desoto Parish, with only 29 homes currently on the market, is off 12% in sales from a year ago with only 145 homes sold for the year.

We also see the strength of the market continue to be in the mid-tier and upper-end price ranges as this chart showcases. I counted 15 price points in the different parishes were prices are up at least 30%:

Price Range

YoY Number of Home Sales NW LOUISIANA
(% change over 2020

YoY Number of Home Sales in Bossier Parish (% change over 2020

YoY Number of Home Sales in Desoto Parish (% change over 2020

YoY Number of Home Sales in Caddo Parish (% change over 2020

Total

4,579 (+15%)

1,827 (+14%)

145 (-12%)

2,607 (+18%)

$100,000 & less

681 (-14%)

153 (-15%)

24 (-25%)

504 (-13%)

$100,000-$200,000

1,670 (+12%)

538 (-1%)

51 (+16%)

1,081 (+19%)

$200,000-$300,000

1,315 (+19%)

651 (+10%)

     29 (-43%)

635 (+38%)

$300,000-$400,000

529 (+49%)

316 (+70%)

24 (-17%)

189 (+35%)

$400,000-$500,000

227 (+59%)

114 (+70%)

13 (+63%)

100 (+47%)

$500,000-
$600,000

73 (+38%)

     3 2 (+39%)

1 (0%)

40 (+38%)

$600,000+

84 (+79%)

23 (77%)

3 (100%)

58 (+71%)

 

The increased sales figures are also having a dramatic impact on the number of available homes. For example, even though 161 homes came on the market in the $200,000-$299,999 price range in our market it was not enough to meet demand. We sold 121. So the total number of available homes is not growing and currently stands at 137, a paltry 1 month supply. The number of homes that come on the market are quickly gobbled up.

Next up is inventory. We still have serious supply shortage. Northwest Louisiana has only 881 homes on the market, 40.3% fewer than last September. This equates to a 1.3-month supply, a whopping 75% difference decrease from our 5.2 month supply from two years ago.

I created this chart that showcases how low inventory plays out compared to current sales. We just don't have enough homes currently on the market:

Price Range

# Homes That Came on the Market in September

September Sales

Current Inventory

Month Supply

Total

516

474

881

1.8

$100,000 & less

82

78

260

3.3

$100,000-$200,000

174

174

278

1.5

$200,000-$300,000

161

121

137

1.0

$300,000-$400,000

49

61

81

1.4

$400,000-$500,000

27

22

38

1.7

$500,000-
$600,000

9

8

27

3.2

$600,000+

14

10

60

6.8

 

I want to put this in perspective by comparing this September's numbers to September 2019 and September 2017. The change is remarkable:

Price Range

September Sales

2021/'19'/17

Current Inventory

2021/'19'/17

Month Supply

2021/'19'/17

Total

474/415/376

881 /2060/2260

1.8/5.2/6.1

$100,000 & less

78/69/87

260/401/477

3.3/4.9/5.6

$100,000-$200,000

174/180/147

278/705/806

1.5/4.4/5.4

$200,000-$300,000

121/114/92

137/474/484

1.0/4.6/5.2

$300,000-$400,000

61/32/29

81/199/241

1.4/6.3/8.6

$400,000-$500,000

22/11/12

38/128/112

1.7/11.5/13.2

$500,000+
$600,000

18/10/9

87/153/140

5.0/16.7/19.5

 

The above chart clearly illustrates why we are in such a strong sellers' market. Almost across the board, we have seen more sales and dramatically fewer listings compared to the last two and four years creating tight markets. In a market like this, a few things continue to occur:

  • Potential buyers do not have enough homes to choose from.
  • They are often competing with other buyers.
  • Sellers know they have the negotiating advantage and are often choosing from multiple-bid offers. We know this to be the case because our local list-to-price ratio remains high at 98.1%. This means that a home listed at $200,000 would expect to sell at $196,200. If homes were being listed at levels that buyer's balked at, this number would be in the lower 90% levels.

Finally, let's talk about prices and the best Halloween treat I can share. The affordability of our market, even in a market like this, remains incredible. I am still shocked to realize that our median price of $191,750 in Northwest Louisiana is $161,050 less than the national number that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) just shared in their Existing Home Sales report. We are 83% more affordable than the U.S. mark! Wow.

And, at least for this month, our price gain was not as dramatic as we saw in the nation. While we were up 6% in September, NAR reported the U.S. was up 13.3% over a year ago. On the flip side, our median days on the market was just eight days, compared to 17 for the nation. Incredibly, 86% of all homes in the U.S. are selling within 30 days. Wow again!

This final chart shows how Northwest Louisiana compares to the U.S.:

 

U.S.

(change over Sept. '20)

Northwest LA

(change over Sept. '20)

Median Price

$352,800/+13.3%

$191,750/+6%

Number of Sales

6.44 million/-2.3%
(annualized)

474/-17%

Inventory

1.27 million/-13.0%

881/-29%

Months' Supply

2.4/2.7

1.8

 

I want to close this month's article by again saluting our region's real estate professionals, especially those I work with at Coldwell Banker Gosslee. When the pandemic hit at the end of March of 2020, we had a few weeks of uncertainty. But since then the real estate market has been moving so quickly and been challenging for so many.

While I know it is their job, our agents have worked so hard, given up countless hours of family time and devoted themselves to assisting their clients and provide them with the support they needed. They simply have not had much of a break and deserve a big THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home, please reach out to any of our amazing agents or give me a shout at jessica@cbgosslee.com.

 

October
19

It took time, patience, and tense negotiations, but you and the kids emerged from behind closed doors in full agreement: One puny pumpkin out front just isn't gonna cut it this year. It's time to up your Halloween game.⁣

Rally with the fam to carve out some neighborhood chills and thrills with these next-level Halloween decorating tips:⁣

More pumpkins? Yes, please! You can never go wrong with traditional orange but think outside the patch. Pick up a truckload and paint them a variety of colors for a modern rainbow effect.⁣


Specialty lighting will make or break your yard's vibe. Head to your home improvement store and grab some multicolored spotlights. Blue, green, and purple give a ghostly feel while orange and red lean more traditional and fiery.⁣


Put your wireless speakers to ghoulish good use. Search your music streaming service to see what creepy playlists are available.⁣


Fill your windows with creepy-crawly silhouettes. Search online for free downloads and have the kids cut, color, and hang.⁣


Your trick or treaters will spend the most time on your doorstep so concentrate your spookiest efforts there. Think bloody footprint decals, super-sized googly eyes for the door, spider-infested corners, and creepy clowns, skeletons, or scarecrows chillin' in the rocking chairs.⁣

Use these tips to brew up some hair-raising Halloween magic! It's gonna be a good one, y'all!⁣


October
19

How Do You Sell To Millennials?

While it's common for millennials to delay the home buying process in favor of renting, it won't be long before they represent the majority of the buyer market. As home-buying habits shift across generations, millennials naturally have different requirements and expectations when it comes to choosing a home. Learning how to market your property to a younger generation is an important selling technique, especially if you're looking to maximize your overall return.

To ensure you're casting the widest net possible and attracting millennials to your listing, be sure to keep these tips in mind when promoting your listing:

  1. Focus On Green Living
    Energy efficiency doesn't just lead to lower utility bills, but it also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both are important factors to millennials when buying a house. Make sure to highlight any double pane windows, high-quality insulation, new HVAC systems, recent roof replacements, or other energy-efficient features in your listing. Sustainability is a great way to attract millennial buyers.

  2. Promote The Neighborhood
    Efficiency and convenience are big selling points — so if you live in a neighborhood with lots of amenities, you'll definitely want to promote it. Call out your home's proximity to any major highways, public transportation, schools, or shopping districts. Walkable neighborhoods are a huge selling point for younger populations.

  3. Keep Your Staging Neutral, Yet Modern
    When it comes to staging, the general rule of thumb is to keep things as neutral as possible. However, adding a simple and modern touch to your neutral staging can help make your listing more appealing to a millennial population. To achieve a simple, minimalistic interior, you'll want to spend a good bit of time decluttering ahead of time.

  4. Brand New Fixtures
    Most first-time homebuyers are concerned with saving for the down payment, and as a result, don't want to spring for costly upgrades shortly after moving in. If you've recently upgraded or renovated a kitchen or bathroom, be sure to make it the spotlight of your listing.

  5. Ask Your Agent About Digital Avenues
    Creating a digital presence for your listing can be a great way to reach a younger population. Your agent can help make sure there are spectacular pictures of your facade and interior to capture the attention of online shoppers. Many agents also utilize social media to expand their reach and appeal to younger homebuyers.

With millennials making up an increasingly large percentage of the buyer market, learning to market your property to this generation will become more and more important. Keep these tips in mind when working with your real estate agent to create your listing.

October
18

Spring is considered the "best time to buy a home" but hear us out: there are a lot of great perks to buying in the fall.
1. Interest rates are still low: Rates are low, but experts expect that they will rise in 2022. Waiting for home prices to drop could actually cost you more in the long term because you'll end up paying more interest on your loan.
2. Price appreciation is slowing down: Buyer demand drove prices up in 2021, but the market is definitely quieter now then it was back in April or May. Prices may continue to rise, but at a slower rate.
3. Inventory is balancing out: Although demand still outpaces supply, more inventory becomes available each day and with kids back in school and some buyers waiting for 2022 to get started, you might be able to secure that dream property by getting out there now.
4. Better weather for moving day: If you buy now, you'll probably be moving in November or early December. No soaring temps ... and (most likely) no snow banks to wade through!
5. Settle into your new home before the holidays: When you're settled into your new living room, fireplace on, warm drink in hand and holiday movie on Netflix, you'll be super happy that the hectic days of home searching and showing prep are behind you (for now!).
Call us today if you have any questions regarding fall home buying!
Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411
Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461
October
17

If you have a home to sell, you're probably excited to get the process started. There are many things you need to consider when selling your property, and it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the task. The good news is we've done extensive research about what you need to know about selling your home – and we've answered the questions you're probably wondering:

How will you determine my home's value?

To determine your home's value and set a listing price, a Coldwell Banker Gosslee agent will complete a Comparative Market Analysis. The CMA uses recent sales of homes close in geography, age, size, and features to yours. (A CMA is not the same as an appraisal, which a licensed appraiser can perform.)

Is it a good idea to start high?

Many sellers like the idea of "starting high" to see if they get higher offers, but this strategy isn't usually practical. First, buyers may not see your listing if they use a price filter set to what they expect prices in the area to run. Second, you run the risk of the appraisal coming in lower than your contract price, which will require your contract to be renegotiated or canceled. Third, if your listing price puts your home higher than your neighborhood value, your home will likely sit on the market longer as buyers wait for you to make a reduction. It's best to set a realistic listing price that will bring you buyers quickly. Our goal is always to get you the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.

What percentage of the listing price can I expect to get?

The list-to-sell ratio is determined by dividing the selling price by the listing price. The ratio is largely market-driven. In a sellers' market, which is when inventory is low, sellers may get close to 100% or over 100% if the home sells above list price. In a market with a large inventory of homes, a buyers' market, buyers have more negotiating power, so the list-to-sell ratio may be closer to 90%. Our goal is to get you as close to a 100% list-to-sell ratio as the market will bear.

How soon can I get my home on MLS?

Once we agree to work together, your Coldwell Banker Gosslee agent will begin entering your home information on the MLS system. They will also schedule a time for a professional photographer to take photos of the property. As soon as all the information and pictures are uploaded items, your listing can go live on MLS.

What do I need to do to get ready to list?

For your part, it's a good idea to begin cleaning out or organizing storage spaces, closets, and drawers and putting away some of your décor or belongings. You may also want to have the exterior pressure washed, and the landscaping cleaned up. We can talk further about specific things that will help your home show better.

How will showings be conducted?

You and your Coldwell Banker Gosslee agent will agree on the terms you are comfortable with for showings. We want to make the home accessible to buyers without too much disruption to your personal life. We can use a showing schedule, and unless we agree otherwise, your agent will notify you in advance of showing requests. We typically use electronic lockboxes that only active members of our local Realtors association can access. We can set the lockbox on a schedule, if necessary. Any time the lockbox is accessed, your agent receives a notification.

How will you market my property?

Marketing your listing is of utmost importance. Most buyers find their properties online through MLS (via their agent,) Realtor, Zillow, or other search engines. Listings in our MLS system automatically show up on these sites within a day or two of becoming active. In addition, we share my listings with the agents in my network, on our website, and on social media. We can discuss additional opportunities such as hosting open houses and marketing within your neighborhood.

How long will it take to find a buyer?

Several factors influence the time it takes to find a buyer. These include the market conditions, price range (higher-priced or luxury homes typically take longer to sell,) location (whether your home is in a desirable neighborhood or a unique location,) and the condition of the home (is move-in ready or in need of renovations?) In a balanced market, most houses, when priced accurately and without significant damage or extenuating circumstances, go under contract within thirty days. Homes sell faster in a seller's market, while buyers take more time to look when inventory is high.

Will you qualify the buyer?

When an offer is received, your agent will work with the buyer's agent to vet the buyer. All offers should be accompanied by either a pre-approval from a mortgage lender or, if paying cash, by verification of funds available to cover the purchase price. Once you accept an offer, the buyer must put down the agreed upon escrow deposit, schedule any inspections as stipulated in the contract, and, if financing is involved, their lender will initiate the loan approval process. Your agent will stay in close contact with the buyer's agent to make sure due process is followed.

What are the costs involved?

The seller usually pays for the real estate agent fees, which are divided between the buyer's agent and the seller's agent. The seller also pays their share of the property taxes and HOA dues. If the full annual amount has been paid, the buyer will repay their portion back to the seller at closing. Often the seller elects to pay a portion of the buyer's closing costs to help make the transaction work for the buyer.

Is your commission negotiable?

The commission is not negotiable. Keep in mind that the commission is split between the two sides, and both agents must abide by the structure their brokerage follows. If we were to reduce the commission upfront, buyers' agents might be less likely to advocate for your property. We will work very hard to represent you honestly with full loyalty and integrity to earn the designated commission. Coldwell Banker Gosslee agnets go above and beyond the call of duty to earn their pay and close transactions for their clients.

Will you also represent the buyer?

If your agent happens to find the buyer for your home, be assured that they are trained and experienced in handling both sides of the transaction fairly. As a professional, they respect the confidentiality and loyalty required in dealing with both parties. On the plus side, communication is easy when they are representing both sides. Working on both sides of the transaction is hard work, but it would not be a problem.

Can I cancel if I find my own buyer?

The listing agreement is a contract between you and your Coldwell Banker Gosslee agent and us - the brokerage. It stipulates the terms for cancellation, which you are encouraged to review. Once we have signed the listing agreement, a prospective buyer that approaches you directly should be redirected to your agent.

How often will we communicate?

Communication is key to an easy and successful sale. Your agent will keep you appraised of events every step of the way. You are welcome to reach out to your agent with questions or concerns. When you go over the listing information, you will discuss our preferred means of communication and schedules to make sure you know each other's availability and boundaries.

Thinking of selling? We are here to help! Call our office today to connect to one of our experienced agents. 

Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411

Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461

October
12

Selling a home is a relatively rare life event for most people, so it's normal not to know what to expect. When seeking advice from neighbors, friends, or family, it might seem like everyone thinks they're an expert on real estate transactions. It's also common to hear myths and tall tales about the market or the selling process. 

As a first-time seller, don't believe everything you hear. Getting caught up in real estate myths can lead to bad decisions that ultimately cost you money in the long run. If you're planning on selling your home soon, be cognizant of these five myths of selling a home:

  • Renovations And Staging Aren't Important
    One of the biggest myths we hear in a hot seller's market is that staging and renovations aren't necessary because buyers are so eager to make an offer. This is simply untrue. Even though the market is incredibly competitive, a home in bad shape is still going to be unattractive to buyers.  Making renovations and staging your home is still your best bet for generating the best return. Just because the market isn't hot doesn't mean sellers should be lazy or skip the important parts.

  • You Can Save Money By Selling Your Home Yourself
    While it's certainly possible to sell a home on your own, you'll likely need to have experience, skills, and a lot of time on your hands in order to pull it off. While it may save you from paying an agent commission, there is also a good chance you'll leave money on the table.

    Real estate agents perform a number of tasks that provide tremendous value by helping you achieve a higher sale price. Staging, marketing, and negotiating are all important pieces. Without an expert in your corner, you might not get the best return.

  • Setting A High Price Leaves Room For Negotiation
    Many sellers think setting the bar high will leave more room for negotiation, but the truth is, many buyers won't even consider a home priced well above its value. By setting a high asking price, you're ultimately putting yourself in a position where you'll likely have to reduce the price after a few weeks, which may lead to buyer suspicions about potential problems.

  • Open Houses Don't Sell Homes
    Open houses have been a home selling tactic for decades, and they didn't disappear during the pandemic. While many people assume real estate agents hold open houses to drum up new business, they can actually be a very effective sales tactic. Open houses are likely to generate quick exposure to the market and can attract a higher number of interested buyers in a short period of time.

  • The Market Will Continue To Rise
    With the exception of two recent economic downturns, home values have consistently been on the rise for many years.  However, these recent recessions have proven that real estate is not a risk-free investment. The myth that home values will continue to rise year after year may influence a seller's decision to list their home. However, the truth is home values can and do fall, and they will fall again.

Selling a home isn't always easy, so arming yourself with the most accurate information is the best way to make decisions that lead to a good return. Of course, experienced real estate agents are often the best source of reliable information about the market.

 

October
12

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a valuable tool for homebuyers because it allows buyers with good credit to secure home loans with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent. It's important to keep this in mind when selling your home because around 30 percent of buyers rely on FHA loans to purchase a home and there are rules that govern what types of homes can be purchased with those loans.

Is your house FHA-friendly? Making sure that it is will open the bidding to the many buyers who use FHA loans, and more potential buyers are always good news when selling your home.

  • Know Your Local FHA Loan Limits and Pick Your Price to Fit Them
    The first step in making your home FHA-friendly is making sure that you price it within FHA guidelines for your real estate market. Note that the right price for an FHA-friendly home can differ quite a bit, depending on where you're selling your home. In markets with high average home values, the corresponding FHA loan limits will also be significantly higher. The same thing is true in the other direction for markets with more modest average home values.


  • Prepare Your Home for Inspection and Address Major Maintenance Issues
    While the home inspection is an important consideration no matter who you're planning on selling your home to, it's an especially key factor for selling to FHA-approved buyers. The FHA won't approve a loan for a home with major issues like mold, structural damage, or roof leaks until those issues are addressed. So a home inspection that reveals those types of issues can really throw a wrench into the process.

    Avoid that problem by having major maintenance issues addressed before it's time for inspection, and you'll have an easier time selling your home. Even if you don't wind up selling to an FHA buyer, addressing those types of issues will make the home more appealing to any buyer.


  • Know the Rules of FHA Appraisals
    While the buyer has the option of also hiring their own appraiser to look at the home, the FHA relies only on the report from its own appraiser when making decisions. Simplify the process by making things easier for the FHA appraiser, and providing easy access to all parts of the home. FHA appraisers are thorough, so if you have an attic or crawlspace make sure that they can get there easily to take the necessary photos.


  • Offer to Help the Buyer with Closing Costs
    For FHA buyers, covering closing costs can often be the last major hurdle before purchasing a home, so offering to help with closing costs can make selling your home easier. The FHA allows sellers to cover up to 6 percent of the home's total sale price, in order to help buyers with closing costs.


  • Pick a Real Estate Agent Who Understands FHA Loans
    Choosing the right real estate agent is always a key consideration when selling your home, and an experienced agent should already have extensive knowledge of the FHA loan process. If you have any questions about making your home FHA-friendly in your market, rely on your real estate agent for accurate answers.

The steps to make your home FHA-friendly are relatively easy to handle for most sellers, and can open the bidding to 30 percent more buyers when selling your home. If you have any questions about selling your home within FHA guidelines, the right real estate agent can walk you through every step of the process.

 

October
12

Buying a home is like falling in love. 

It might have been love at first sight or maybe it took one or two dates, but do you remember what it was like to find that special one and fall in love.  You might feel the same way when you're buying a home.  You see several possibilities, listen to a few friends and then all of the sudden, you find the right one--your dream home.

Buying a house is a big undertaking. For most people, their home is their largest personal investment.  Buying a home is filled with big expectations and without due diligence, there can be big disappointments.

It is important to look deeper into buying a house to make sure you'll love for the long haul.  Take into consideration the following questions to find your happily ever after:

  • Will the house serve your current and future needs?
    The house may be fine for you as a young couple or even as a single person but will it be enough a few years from now when you have a family? According to mortgage information site HSH.com, the most common complaint from home buyers is inadequate space with 80 percent of buyers registering this complaint.

    Take measurements of the space you currently have in your closet, bedroom, living room, kitchen and other key areas. Then, take those of the house you are planning to buy. If the new purchase won't give you significantly more space, you could soon be grumbling about not having enough space in your new home.
  • Are you buying in a controlled development area?
    Find out whether you are buying in a controlled development area. If it is, you are sure that you won't see someone put up a pub or other development that would be a nuisance in the area.
  • Who did the home inspection?
    Don't forego a home inspection because you are buying a house in the same neighborhood as someone you know and the houses are all alike. The houses may all be the same but one may have problems that another doesn't. One home could have problems with the HVAC, a leaky basement, dry rot in the joists or other problem that another house that does not have.

    Homebuyers are entitled to an inspection once a seller accepts their offer. Some buyers opt to forego an inspection because they are trying to buy in a strong seller's market which is not advisable.

    You also want to do some homework on the company that does the home inspection. Ideally, it should be done by an independent company that is not attached to a buying or selling company.
  • What kind of neighbors can you expect to find?
    You can't know what kind of neighbors you will get and you can't control that. However, you can buy into particular neighborhoods and avoid others. Broadly speaking, there are those that have good reputations and that are inhabited by a particular class of people such as the suburbs. Then they are neighborhoods that are known for insecurity that you want to avoid.
  • Are the amenities you need nearby?
    Another check you want to make before committing to buying a house is whether the amenities you need are close by. You want to check that there are good schools nearby and if you have young ones or are planning for them, a good child care facility.
  • How far will you need to commute?
    If you will be commuting to work every day, you don't want a long commute that will make your day even longer. You don't want to have to leave so early in the morning and get home late because of a long commute.
October
6

The total number of bedrooms is an important selling feature of any home, so it's no wonder many homeowners are eager to transform extra rooms into bedrooms. But did you know there are actually legal definitions and coding requirements for bedrooms?

The number of bedrooms in your home can have a major impact on your home value and even your property taxes, so it's important to learn the rules on what rooms actually qualify. Remember, legal definitions can vary across states and municipalities, so always be sure to check on the requirements in your specific area. Below are several common requirements used to determine if a room qualifies as a bedroom:

Size Requirements
The actual size requirements of a bedroom vary by location, but in many cases, the minimum requirement is between 70 and 80 square feet. If a room in your house is smaller than the minimum size requirement, you'll likely need to advertise it as a small office or closet. In addition to total square feet, your bedroom must also measure at least 7 feet horizontally.

The height of the ceiling also matters — at least half of the ceiling must be higher than 7 feet. In other words, if your ceiling is slanted, which is common in lofts or attic spaces, make sure at least half of its area meets the minimum height requirement.

Exit Points
Requirements in many locations specify that a bedroom should have two points of exit. While two doors may qualify in some cases, many places require at least one exit point be a window or skylight. To qualify as a bedroom, there must be two ways in which a person can exit the room to ensure safety in the event of a fire.

Window Size
Many places have minimum size requirements for windows. A common rule is that the total glass area of the window be at least 8% of the floor. Windows also shouldn't be higher than 44 inches above the floor, and they must be at least 5.7 square feet to qualify.

Heating And Cooling
Common in areas that experience hot summers or cold winters are heating and cooling requirements. To qualify in certain areas, bedrooms must be temperature controlled. This is especially common for master bedrooms. In most cases, the heat source needs to come from an HVACV system or furnace (space heaters and fireplaces don't qualify).


Remember, buyers love to imagine what they can do with extra space, so if you have a room that doesn't qualify as a bedroom, you can always get away with advertising it as an office or nursery. Even if it's not technically a bedroom, extra rooms are always a good selling point.

Turning extra rooms into bedrooms can be beneficial for numerous reasons, but always be sure to make sure your space meets the legal requirements in your area before labeling it a bedroom.

October
4

Saving for a down payment, qualifying for a mortgage, and learning about real estate negotiations are all factors that can make buying your first home a challenge. First-time buyers must often strike a tricky balance between affordability and living requirements. While it can be challenging at times, it's certainly not impossible, especially if you do your research ahead of time.


If you're buying a home on a budget, below are some tips that can help you along the way:


1. Be Willing To Compromise
For many first-time buyers, finding the perfect home for the perfect price is a relatively rare event. As a result, you need to be ready to compromise. Think of all the things you want in a new home and then sort them down into lists: strict requirements, strong preferences, and "nice to haves." To find something that works within your budget, you may have to shift your priorities to some extent.

2. Set A Budget
Before you begin shopping for a new home, you need to know exactly how much you can afford to spend. Remember, your total budget is often not the same as the maximum amount you can get approved for. Your lender is likely to approve you for more than you might be comfortable spending. Check out some online housing calculators to help you get a sense of what you can truly afford. Your monthly payment shouldn't exceed more than 27% of your gross monthly income.

3. Put In Some Maintenance
If you discover a home with a lot of potential that needs a little bit of maintenance, you might be able to make it work if you're willing and able to put in the time and make repairs. You can likely get a much better deal if you are willing to install new carpet, paint the walls, or update old kitchens or bathrooms.

4. Think About A Foreclosure
One way to get a great deal on a house is to pursue a home that is up for short sale or under foreclosure. In both circumstances, you need to be willing to purchase a property as-is, as there is no opportunity to negotiate. However, the upside is that you can likely get the home for a good price. A short sale means the owner is behind on mortgage payments, but the bank has permitted them to sell the property. A foreclosure means the bank has already seized the property and is looking to sell as quickly as possible to recover its costs.

5. Shop For Mortgage Rates
When purchasing your first home, it's a good idea to consider rates from multiple lenders to get a true sense of the market. Seek multiple quotes on the same type of mortgage or reach out to a mortgage broker to get a true sense of the rate market. In addition to the actual rates, make sure to consider each lender's fees as well.

6. Choose A Good Real Estate Agent
A good agent will work hard to help you find the right home within your budget. They will monitor the market for potential options, schedule showings, and ultimately negotiate with the seller. Do online research, attend open houses, or ask friends, family, or neighbors for recommendations on a good real estate agent.


Buying on a tight budget might create a couple of additional hurdles in the home shopping process, but they're nothing that you can't overcome with a little bit of planning and research.

October
4

Shorter days and cooler temperatures can only mean one thing: fall is on its way and winter won't be far behind.

So today, we're dishing up some seasonal interior design tips to help you give your home a cozy, warm vibe just in time for fall (without having to spend big).

From popular color schemes to autumnal textures, by the end, you'll have plenty of ideas for an affordable and easy fall update.

Champion earthy walls

Earthy tones are at the heart of fall interior design trends, bringing warmth in abundance and a comforting feel to any room.

From strong shades like Pantone's Ultimate Gray to sumptuous terracottas and soft sandy hues, these bold neutrals are perfect for giving your fall decor a solid foundation. Better yet, a fresh lick of paint is one of the cheapest ways to revitalize a room.

But don't fret about living spaces feeling bland. Earthy neutral shades are packed full of character and go with a wide variety of different shades. For a chic and elegant look, use blush pink or peachy hues to your heart's content. Or, introduce vibrant tones like orange or emerald green that work beautifully with gray and beige.

You don't just have to stick to plain painted walls, either. Create your own feature walls with contrasting block colors or stencils against your chosen neutral base. Alternatively, add interest and texture with wallpaper – this could be a striking gray wallpaper or something with a plain design.

Giving your living spaces a new base color in a seasonal tone is a quick and affordable way to reinvigorate them.

Bring the outdoors in

When the weather cools, it's no surprise that we spend less time outdoors. But that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the wonders of nature – the trick is to create your own indoor oasis by bringing the outside in.

The most obvious way to do this is by using indoor plants. Granted, you can do this any time of year, but it seems more poignant in fall as many outdoor plants fade away until the spring.

For a cost-effective option, go for long-lasting and low maintenance succulents that stay looking lush all year round. For variety and drama, add a few large, leafy, tropical plants that will lap up the indoor heat throughout the winter – giving you an indoor paradise that also purifies the air inside.

Beyond striking fauna, you want the right accessories that reflect the outside world. We're talking ceramic pots, untreated wood and natural stone accents that give the overall aesthetic a bonafide earthy vibe. To keep costs down, scour the thrift shops for ornaments or see what natural wonders you can find on walks or in your own backyard.

Layer up with texture and color

On your quest for a cozy interior this fall, don't forget the importance of layers. Just like you'd smother yourself in clothing on a cold winter's day, you can do the same to your home with accessories and textiles.

For relaxation areas like bedrooms and living rooms, splash a little cash on some new throw rugs and scatter cushions. To optimize their impact, go big on both texture and color here. Furry fabrics like trendy boucle and sheepskin provide a soft, snuggly texture, while spice infused colors like burnt orange, turmeric and mulberry lend a warm glow.

You can also give rooms a relatively inexpensive update (depending on your taste) with a new statement rug. Again, draw on color palettes that echo the season with green, orange, red, brown and yellow that match the changing tree leaves.

The same color palette works beautifully in kitchens and bathrooms, using organic materials to really bring a textural finish. We're talking rattan furniture, linen tablecloths, woven bath mats and more. Oh, and don't forget to decorate with a few seasonal pumpkins for good measure!

Giving your home a fall refresh doesn't have to be disruptive or expensive. From a grounding base color to oodles of textures, it's all about choosing suitable colors, textures and accents that come together to create a welcoming and cozy space you can enjoy all winter long.

 

Author bio:

 

Alex Jones is a content creator for 1ClickWallpaper – one of the UK's leading online suppliers of affordable wallpaper and decorating supplies, offering a huge online range of wallpapers, paints and decorating essentials.

 

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