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Date Archives: December 2021

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December
31

Tips for Finding the Home of Your Dreams

Don't let your dream home get away.

Many people can close their eyes and tell you what their dream home looks like.  For some it's a palatial estate and for others it's a three-bedroom Cape Cod with a white picket fence.  Depending upon a person's finances and stage in life, their definition of their dream home can change. To help you define the home of your dreams, here are seven easy steps to set you on your journey.

  1. Create an Idea Book. 
    An idea book is one of your best tools as you begin your house hunt. Homes literally come in all shapes and sizes with more features and amenities than you can probably count. In your idea book, outline what you need and want from your space. Jotting these thoughts down allows you to easily organize them into must-have lists as you continue the process.


  2. It's Okay to Dream.
    It is okay to dream a little when you make the decision to buy a house. Everyone wants to live in a space you truly love. Give yourself some time to dream and explore all the possibilities. Spend time on Pinterest or other online home galleries finding the features that you would include in your dream home.


  3. Determine a Baseline.
    Before you can narrow your wish list into a shopping list for your new home, create a baseline. Your baseline list includes the most basic features and requirements to consider when you buy a new house. Typically, your baseline list should include number of bedrooms, a realistic price range, a basic home style and lot size.


  4. Don't Forget About the Yard
    It is difficult to buy a house if the yard does not meet your family's needs. Would you use a swimming pool? Do you want significant acreage or a garden plot? Will you want an outdoor space for entertaining? Add a list of yard must-haves and wants to your idea book.


  5. Location, Location, Location
    Consider the amenities your neighborhood should include, such as access to public transportation, parks and good schools. Try to limit your ideal neighborhood list to three to five locations.


  6. Dollars That Make Sense
    Make sure you have a full understanding of how much home you can afford. There is nothing worse than to fall in love with a home only to find it is out of your budget. Examine your current financial situation and get pre-qualified for a home loan before you start your home search.


  7. Prioritize Your List
    After going through all of the detailed lists in your idea notebook, narrow your lists into a single, streamlined home needs list. Prioritize it into wants and needs. Try using a 1-4 scale, assigning "1" to must have items, "2 and 3" to ideal items and "4" to things you would like, but could live without.
December
29

Hook Buyers With A Home Office Space

With so many people working from home these days, it's no surprise that a home office has become a popular selling point. In fact, it's now a "must-have" feature for many buyers. By advertising a home office in your listing, you stand to increase your sale price by as much as 4%. The good news is it's fairly easy to add an office to your home. However, it's important to stage it the right way. By following these tips, you can generate buyer attention with the perfect office setup:

  • Choose The Right Spot
    An extra room is usually the best place to stage a home office, but if your home doesn't have an extra room, don't fret! Consider any unused space in the home. You'd be surprised at how many areas can serve as a home office, but you might need to get creative. Do you have space under the stairway? Is there an unused section of your basement or game room? Does your living room have an extra nook sectioned off from the rest of the room? If you don't have a dedicated room, search for opportunities throughout the rest of the home.

  • Stage Your Furniture
    A home office setup is actually fairly simple because, at a minimum, you only need a nice desk and a chair. However, if you have some space to work, you should attempt to maximize it. Consider adding a nice lamp as a desk piece. Visitor seating is always a good idea, or you could create a reading nook in the corner of the room by adding a comfortable chair and a floor lamp. A small filing cabinet that easily fits underneath the desk is also a great accessory.

  • Emphasize The Light
    Lighting is an important feature of a home office. If the room receives lots of natural light, be sure to open the blinds or remove the window treatments for staging photos and home tours. If the room is lacking natural light, try to create a well-balanced source or ambient light by adding some floor lamps.

  • Avoid Any Personalization
    While no home office is complete without family photos, bobbleheads, and knick-knacks, you should strive to avoid personalizing the office space. Remember, your goal isn't to show off your own office, it's to create a space where buyers can envision themselves working. Your own personal decor can be distracting or a turnoff to a buyer.

  • Eliminate Clutter
    If you're actively using your office space, it's important to keep it clean and clutter-free. Keep all office supplies stored away inside a drawer or cabinet. Make sure the surface of the desk is completely clear. If you're struggling to declutter, consider using some office organizers to neatly group and store items on your shelf space or in a nearby closet.

Home offices have never been more important. By not having one, you run the risk of excluding many potential buyers who work from home. Your listing agent can help you find the best way to add and show off a new home office space to hook buyers today.

December
28

Picture it: This time next year, you really could be HOME for the HOLIDAYS!

Here are 3 reasons you should add "become a homeowner" to your 2022 New Year's Resolutions.

1. Your Property, Your Way

Want to paint your kitchen bright yellow? Want to create an outdoor oasis in your backyard?

When you own your own home, you have the freedom to make your dream home a reality without having to answer to a landlord or property manager.

2. Build Wealth

Did you know that homeowners have 44.5% times more net worth than renters (according to the Fed's latest Survey of Consumer Finances)?

Investing in a home provides you with tangible and financial benefits.

3. Grow Your Community

When you buy a home, you plant roots and create stability for you and your family.

If you're ready to add homeownership to your 2022 bucket list, reach out! Our experienced agnets will be happy to walk you through the process.

Bossier City Office 318-747-5411

Shreveport Office 318-861-2461

December
27

ANGELA MYLES JOINS COLDWELL BANKER GOSSLEE          

 

(Shreveport, LA – December 27, 2021) – Angela Myles has joined Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 real estate brokerage in Northwest Louisiana.

 

"Houses are just houses—it's the people who make it a home," says Angela, an award-winning salesperson and recent graduate of the 44th Greater Shreveport Leadership class.  "Being family and community oriented, I put people and their needs first, and am always learning something from each person's experiences."  

 

After graduating from Woodlawn High School in Shreveport, Angela attended Wiley College and earned a B. S. in Business Administration with Organizational Management. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Administration from Texas A&M. 

 

This busy mother of three beautiful daughters (Ashanti- 15, Ayanna- 12, and 1-year-old Anais) is also active with the Junior League of Shreveport, involved in Power Coalition: She Leads Fellowship, and a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success.  Through the She Leads Fellowship, Angela was able to launch a 501c3 nonprofit organization (Essentials 4 Families Diaper Bank) to help impoverished children and families eradicate shortages of diapers and other feminine products. To learn more, click 

https://powercoalition.org/ or https://powercoalition.org/she-leads-experiences/

 

You may contact Angela at her Shreveport office (318-861-2461), by cell phone (318-393-2271), or email Angela@AngelaMylesRealtor.com.

 

To find out how Coldwell Banker Gosslee has remained #1 for the 29th straight year, go to CBGosslee.com

December
24

MOVE UP SELLERS MAY FUEL THE MARKET

We have come to the holiday season and I hope everyone is excited to celebrate while also being safe. There is no denying the last two years have been momentous and that includes the state of the national and local housing markets.

The big news in real estate continues to be that so many potential sellers have stayed on the sidelines which has caused our housing inventory to diminish. The supply vs. demand imbalance, fueled by the pandemic and all-time low mortgage rates, has created higher prices.

We ended November with only 899 homes on the market in Northwest Louisiana which is 18.2% less than last year at this time. This equates to just a 1.8 month supply. We are actually worse off than the national numbers reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Nationwide, there are only 1.11 million homes available, a 2.1 month supply. This is down 13.9% over last year.

But there is a sliver of good news. The number of available homes in our three parishes are up from our low point of 774 back in May. And, according to Realtor.com, we might start to see more homes come online as many may decide to put their homes on the market. They reported that 26% of all surveyed homeowners expect to sell their home in the next 12 months. It shared that the boom in sales would likely be led by the younger generations which would seemingly help the lower priced segment of the market. The report showed that 49% of Millennial homeowners plan to sell followed by Gen Z (34%), Gen X (26%), Baby Boomers (11%) and Silent Generation (8%).

These numbers are even more dramatic when compared to Realtor.com's similar report from the spring when only 10% of the entire homeowner pool said they would sell within 12 months. Back then, following in the same order, only 10% of Millennials said they would sell while Gen Z (6%), Gen X (10%), Baby Boomers (12%) and Silent Generation (3%).

While surprised at the numbers reporting they will sell, I am not overly shocked by the youth movement. Our younger generations are looking for more space and potentially newer amenities and locations as their lifestyle and job needs change. The older generations, potentially already settled in a home they want to "age in place," don't have a reason to leave.

Here are some things we may see play out in the coming months in real estate:

  • Mortgage rates may rise with most predicting 2022 rates will be in the high 3% range. We should expect that any increase in rates would pull some potential buyers out of the market.
  • Assuming we can get COVID under control, at some point the "return to work" movement would begin in earnest. That would pull further buyers out of our market as they won't be able to relocate to more affordable Northwest Louisiana.
  • Buyer demand would then begin to slow.
  • Inventory levels can then begin to slowly catch up.
  • Price gains would begin to moderate.

I say all of this knowing it is not going to be a quick fix. It will take time and I assume prices will continue to rise pretty dramatically over the next year. But, it is important to recognize that prior to the Great Recession, the national median home price NEVER went down over the previous year. What will likely happen with prices is that they will someday return to more traditional 3-5% annual increases.

Once again, I need to point out that if you are – or have considered selling your home – please get in touch with one of our agents. They can answer any questions you might have, create a roadmap for you and also potentially connect with you with a great agent in the city or town you are thinking of relocating too. And, if you are doing a crosstown move, obviously we can help here too.

INVENTORY

Now let's get into the "nitty gritty" starting with inventory levels. We are once again seeing a similar story play out. If you take out the outliers at the below $100,000 and above $500,000 price points, we remain at all-time low supply levels. But even with the top and bottom of the market included, we are still below the traditional 6-month supply levels that indicate a balanced market where neither buyer nor seller has a negotiating advantage. Clearly, as the below chart shows, we remain in a seller's market:

Price Range

# Homes That Came on the Market in November

Current Inventory

Month Supply

Total

492

899

1.8

$100,000 & less

91

263

4.3

$100,000-$200,000

174

279

1.6

$200,000-$300,000

136

154

1.2

$300,000-$400,000

50

84

2.0

$400,000-$500,000

20

42

1.8

$500,000-$600,000

8

25

3.1

$600,000+

13

52

5.8

 

DEMAND

Our shortage of available homes is exacerbated by the strong buyer demand in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes. Demand correlates into sales. Typically in November, the three parishes will combine for 362 homes sales. But this year, we came in at 446 which is a 19% increase over that rolling five-year average. This is one of the highest November sales months in history but behind last year's COVID-caused buyer's frenzy of 493.

While we remain up 11% for the year in home sales compared to 2020, the demand compared to 2019, when COVID wasn't part of our lives, is up 24%!

You will see in the chart below that the number of sales in Caddo Parish dwarfs Bossier and Desoto. But this is a direct correlation to inventory levels in each Parish. For example, there are currently 626 homes for sale in Caddo, only 224 in Bossier and a paltry 27 in Desoto.

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 Caddo Parish (% change over 2020

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

Total

5,556 (+11%)

2,225 (+8%)

3,156 (+15%)

175 (-20%)

$100,000 & less

821 (-16%)

195 (-21%)

597 (-13%)

29 (-31%)

$100,000-$200,000

2,001 (+8%)

645 (-4%)

1,293 (+15%)

63 (+15%)

$200,000-$300,000

1,626 (+17%)

804 (+6%)

789 (+38%)

     33 (-50%)

$300,000-$400,000

625 (+31%)

370 (+49%)

227 (+23%)

28 (-36%)

$400,000-$500,000

283 (+62%)

139 (+66%)

129 (+59%)

16 (+45%)

$500,000-
$600,000

91 (+25%)

     41 (+32%)

49 (+20%)

1 (0%)

$600,000+

109 (+79%)

32 (60%)

72 (+76%)

5 (400%)

 

This chart shows overall Northwest Louisiana sales and how they have changed over the last 5 years. The increases are dramatic:

Price Range

November 2021 Sales

November 2019 Sales

November 2017 Sales

% change over last 5 years

Total

446

330

320

45.6%

$100,000 & less

61

69

82

-25.6%

$100,000-$200,000

173

118

137

26.2%

$200,000-$300,000

128

91

68

88.2%

$300,000-$400,000

43

35

22

95.5%

$400,000-$500,000

24

10

8

200.0%

$500,000+

17

7

             3      

467.7%

 

Another piece of evidence showcasing our high demand is the speed of the market. In Northwest Louisiana last month, homes are selling in just 11 days almost half of last year's mark of 21 days

PRICES

The simple math of the low supply vs. high demand imbalance should equate to rising prices. And it does! Looking ONLY at November, we had a median price of $194,500, up 2% over a year ago. This means that of the 446 homes sold in our three parishes, the middle of the list was about $195,000. But when we compare the average price for the month, we were up 6% to $219,899.

For the entire year, in median price we are up 7% to $198,000 and in average price we're up 11% to $221,061.

I continue to be amazed by the rise of prices nationally too. NAR reported that the median priced home in the U.S. costs $353,900, an increase of 13.9% over last November. At least we know that Northwest Louisiana remains one of the most affordable markets in the U.S. Our homes are about $132,000 cheaper!

The below charts compares us to the rest of the U.S. as we utilize NAR's Existing Home Sales report as a guide

 

U.S.

(change over Nov. '20)

Northwest LA

(change over Nov. '20)

Median Price

$353,900/+13.9%

$194,500/+2%

Number of Sales

6.46 million/-2.0%
(annualized)

446/-10%

Inventory

1.11 million/-13.3%

899/-18%

Months' Supply

2.1/2.3

1.8/2.4

Median Days on Market

18/21

11/21

 

As I close out this month's blog, I want to encourage those who want even more information to utilize the Coldwell Banker Gosslee Monthly Report that shares great data from the Northwest Louisiana Association of Realtors MLS.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

And once again, thank you for making us the top real estate company in Northwest Louisiana for the 29th straight year! Wow!

December
21

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

To view or download the full report click here.

November Summary:  Strong sales for a November.  Average price higher again.  Inventory levels unchanged.

Sales:  Sales in November we well above average but did not top sales from last year same month. There were 446 sales posted this November versus 526 last month and 493 last year.  The 5 year average for November is only 362 so we were about 19% above our normal sales average for November.  Year over year comparison is starting to narrow though as the second half of last year's numbers get figured in.  Sales year to date for 2021 are now up just +11% compared to as much as +29% back in May.  Compared to 2019 though, sales are up +24% YTD.  These results differ though when you drill down on each parish.  Sales in Desoto parish are actually down –20% this year due to the very low inventory available for sale. Currently, there are only 27 available listings on the market in all price ranges in Desoto parish. Caddo has the most available homes for sale at 626 while Bossier only has 224. This larger availability of inventory is primarily the reason Caddo has seen a larger % increase in sales this year.  

Unit Sales YTD by price range vs. last year:

Inventory:  Listing inventory bottomed in May of this year at 774. Since then, it has climbed back to the low 900's and has hovered at that level for the last few months.  There are now 899 active listings on the market versus 911 last month, 1099 last year, and 1956 in 2019.  With 446 homes sold in November and only 899 currently on the market, the Monthly Supply (using the 12 month trailing average) of homes is now 1.8 which is unchanged from last month. This is incredibly low though for the Shreveport-Bossier market.  Just 12 months ago, the monthly supply was 2.4, and two years ago it was 4.9. There were 492 new listings that came on the market in November in all price ranges but the majority were put under contract shortly after hitting the market.  There are currently 590 properties in pending sale status.  This is down from 689 last month.   This decline in buyer activity is expected as December and January all always the slowest months of the year.   It will be very telling for 2022 to see how buyer activity goes in February next year.

PricesWith the continued low inventory and strong sales activity in the higher price ranges, the average home price continued to climb. Year to date, the average home price through November is $221,061 versus $199,741 last year. On a price per square foot basis, sale prices thru November averaged $108.49 per sq.ft. versus $99.64 last year. 

November 2021 Comparative Market Statistics
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, Desoto Parishes Only)

November 2021 Absorption Rates
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, & Desoto Parishes Only)
The following figures are through the month of November 2021
Currently, there are 899 total homes for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 499 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 492 homes came on the market.

Currently there are 263 homes priced below $100,000 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 75 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 3.5 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 91 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 279 homes priced between $100,000 and $199,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 180 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 1.6 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 154 homes priced between $200,000 and $299,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 145 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 1.1 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 136 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 84 homes priced between $300,000 and $399,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 56 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's an 1.5 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 50 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 42 homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 25 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 24 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 77 homes priced above $500,000 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 18 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 4.3 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 21 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 12/14/2021
Author: Brad Gosslee of Coldwell Banker Gosslee
Information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.
December
20

It's finally here — Christmas Eve! Make it magical with these at-home traditions and activities all ages can enjoy!⁣

1. Set out a hot cocoa bar for guests with mugs guests can take home to remember their time in your home.⁣
2. Retell favorite family stories about the holidays.⁣
3. Take out-of-town guests to see the wackiest Christmas lights in town.⁣
4. Grab a stack of holiday books, some hot cider, and snuggle on the couch reading familiar tales.⁣
5. Surprise neighbors with cookies (and caroling, if you dare!).⁣
6. Give new pajamas to everyone staying in your home and declare it pajama night ASAP.⁣
7. Video call family members and friends who couldn't make the trip this year.⁣
8. Divide into teams and host a gingerbread house competition.⁣
9. Watch a beloved Christmas movie. (Our picks? Elf, It's a Wonderful Life, and Christmas Vacation.)⁣
10. Track Santa's journey around the globe and set out apples and carrots for his reindeer.⁣
11. Bundle up and go for a neighborhood Christmas Eve stroll, star-gazing along the way! ⁣

No matter how you're celebrating the night before Christmas, We hope you're doing it with the people you love the most. From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!

December
20

A healthy home is a happy home.

We might not be scrubbing our hands Meredith Grey-style like we were last year but health and wellness is still a huge focus as this pandemic drags on.

Here are a few ways to keep your home clean and family healthy this holiday season:

  • Keep plenty of festive holiday soaps and hand wash in the bathrooms for guests. Try the Mrs. Meyers seasonal collection!
  • Consider freshening the air with essential oils or diffusing a cozy holiday scent.
  • Use a natural cleaner to keep countertops and surfaces free of germs and grime.
  • Get fresh air whenever you can! Keep windows open when temps permit or take daily fresh air breaks.
  • Keep up your healthy habits! 

Question for you: do you use holiday scented soaps or cleaning products? Tell us your favorites in the comments.

December
20

What Sellers Can't Control — And What You Can Do About It

If you're getting ready to list your home, you undoubtedly want to do everything in your power to achieve the highest possible sale price. But selling a home is a complicated process, and there are many variables that influence the outcome of a real estate transaction. The hard part is many of these variables are beyond the seller's control.

This doesn't mean your ability to cash in on your biggest investment comes down to luck alone, but acknowledging what you can't control will better position you to spend your time and energy on the things you can control.

Here are some items that sellers can't control during the home selling process and what you can do instead:

  1. Market Conditions
    The real estate market fluctuates over time, and while it may be a seller's market today, it's hard to say what the future will bring 5 or 10 years down the road. Economic conditions are ultimately beyond your control.

    What You Can Do: Keep an eye on the market. The next time the market is hot or inventory is low, be ready to quickly evaluate whether it's the right time to sell your home. A real estate agent can help.

  2. Your Neighborhood
    Sellers can't have complete control over the decisions of their neighbors or the long-term condition of a neighborhood. To further complicate things, your neighbor's home sales will often influence your sale price. At the end of the day, a buyer's perception of your neighborhood is beyond your control.

    What You Can Do: Join your local neighborhood association (or form one) and advocate for action that helps boost property values. It'll take some time, but pulling your neighbors together for the greater good can have promising results.

  3. The Age Of Your Home
    It might seem obvious, but your home isn't going to get any younger. Some buyers are in the market for a newer home, while others may like the charm and character of an older property.

    What You Can Do: If your home is showing its age, then it might be worth investing in some upgrades before listing your home. Certain upgrades, like a renovated bathroom or new appliances, can actually generate a return when you go to sell.

  4. Buyer Negotiations
    Negotiations with a buyer can sometimes last several rounds and still fall apart at the end. You can't control or predict what a buyer will offer or ask for. No matter how hard you try, you also can't control how buyers will perceive your property.


    What You Can Do: Make sure you have an experienced real estate agent in your corner. A real estate agent is an expert negotiator and will ultimately be the liaison, so you don't have to deal with a buyer directly. A good agent is the best way to land a deal that works for both sides.

When it comes time to sell your largest investment, some things are simply out of your control.  Instead of getting hung up on these details, try to focus on what you can control.

December
20

When The First Offer Is The Best One

Should you accept the first offer on your home? This is a common question we hear from sellers. On the one hand, you might think it's worth holding out for a better offer, especially in a hot market. On the other hand, rejecting the first offer could be risky.

The truth is there are many instances when the first offer will be your best offer. Below, we'll discuss those reasons as well as give you some tips to consider when making your decision.

Should You Accept The First Offer?
Receiving the first offer is exciting. It serves as confirmation there is interest in the home, and it serves as a reasonable indicator that your home sale may be finalized in the not too distant future. So should you accept the offer or wait for another one to come along?

Unless the offer is significantly below your asking price, you should likely accept it. Here is why:

  • The Offer Was Likely Carefully Calculated
    The buyer most likely consulted with their real estate agent, evaluated market data, and looked at comps (recent similar size home sales within a few miles of your home) when deciding on an offer. As a result, the offer is probably fair in most cases and based on research.
  • You Can Always Negotiate 
    If the offer is within the ballpark of your asking price, you can always negotiate. Work with a real estate agent to respond with a counteroffer that has a higher price or eliminates some of the requested contingencies.
  • Turning It Down Could Be Risky
    Sure, a better offer might come along. But what if one doesn't? You run the risk of your home sitting on the market for a long period of time, which might make buyers wonder if it has a problem.

Tips To Consider When Evaluating Your First Offer
Whether or not to accept the first offer isn't always a clear-cut decision. There are several factors you'll likely want to consider:

  • The State Of The Market
    If the market is slow, it can be risky to wait for another offer to come along. However, if the market is hot in your area, it may be in your best interest to wait an extra day or two before responding to see how many additional offers come in.
  • The Offer Price
    If an offer is within 5 percent of your asking price, then you know you're likely close enough to consider negotiating with the buyer.
  • Contingencies
    If the buyer has undesirable contingencies that are non-negotiable, such as a home sale contingency, it might make sense to wait for another offer.
  • Timing
    If the offer comes quickly, as in the first day or so the home is on the market, then you might have the luxury of waiting especially if you don't need to sell fast.
  • The Transaction
    Is the buyer offering all cash, or are they financing the purchase through a mortgage? Cash offers close much faster. Consider how important your timeline is.

In many cases, the first offer is the best offer, and there can be downsides to waiting for better ones to come along. However, if the market is hot, the offer is low, or the buyer has unrealistic expectations, waiting a few days might be worthwhile.

December
17

How to Cut Costs When You're Moving

Moving is a pretty big project no matter what age you are or how much stuff you have. It's almost always bigger than you think. When you're selling your home and moving to a new one, you'll want to keep your moving costs from getting out of control. These tips can help you cut moving costs and still get the job done.

  • Plan ahead.
    Probably the best thing you can do to save yourself some money is to plan ahead. Get started as early as possible sourcing the goods and services you'll need, so you can research and take advantage of deals or freebies. Movers are often booked up on weekends far in advance, so you'll pay extra for last-minute arrangements if you can schedule them at all.
  • Get rid of stuff you don't need.
    Packing and moving services use the time spent on your move, how much stuff you have and how many people they need to determine what they'll charge you. Moving less stuff means you'll save money. Before selling your home is the time to sell, donate, recycle, or just get rid of whatever you don't need.
  • Be open about scheduling.
    Try to schedule your move when the movers are less busy. It increases the chances of being able to book the movers you want and saves you money. Movers charge more for those popular time slots because they know they'll still be able to book them. Moving during the fall or winter instead of summer can save some money, but you can also save by avoiding the first few and last few days of the month, weekends, and holiday weekends. 
  • Comparison shop for everything.
    Movers, packing services, storage, truck rental, and packing supplies are all possibilities for a discount. You may find offers online or you can just ask if there's any coupons or sales available.
  • Be a DIYer.
    You can always save some money by doing things yourself. If you're not comfortable doing everything yourself even doing part of it will save you some money. For example, if you're not comfortable driving the rental truck, it's ok to hire movers, but you could do the packing yourself instead.
  • Take advantage of free.
    Get boxes from a local store after they unpack them. Use free newspapers or magazines or raid the recycle bin for packing materials. Reuse bubble wrap from packages you receive. Use towels, blankets, throw pillows and socks to cushion breakables.
  • Be sure to ask about additional charges.
    Read any contracts carefully and make sure you understand what you're being charged for so you can avoid surprises when it's time to pay up. Some examples of extra charges include unpacking charges, extra charges for extremely fragile or valuable items, and waiting charges.  
  • Use a moving container.
    These containers are delivered to your home for you to pack at your convenience, then picked up, stored if necessary and shipped to your new home. They are often cheaper than getting movers and a storage unit.

When you're selling your home you'll want to keep as much of that money as you can so keeping moving costs down just makes sense. No matter when or how far you plan to move, it doesn't have to break the bank. There are always at least a few ways to save some money. And with a little planning and creativity, you'll probably save quite a bit.

December
15

No matter how much we prepare, there are a lot of things in any real estate transaction that are completely beyond our control. Financing issues, appraisal problems and inspection issues are going to come up - it's all part of the process. 

The most important thing you can do is work with an agent who is prepared to roll with the punches no matter what happens! So let's talk about 5 things that could go wrong and what to do if they actually happen. 

FINANCING FALLS THROUGH

Financing is one of the most common reasons a transaction falls through between an accepted offer and closing day. Change in employment status, new debt accrual or a change in lender guidelines can cause the financing problems. 

If a loan application is refused, the buyer should first find out why the loan was denied to determine the best recourse, which may include increasing the down payment amount of shopping for a different type of loan option. 

ONE PARTY GETS COLD FEET

This happens more than you might think: a buyer puts an offer down on a home, the seller accepts the offer and one of the parties changes their mind about buying or selling. 

Maybe the seller's new job offer fell through or the buyer decided they were not financially ready to take on a mortgage. Regardless of which shoes you find yourself in, a pro/con list and working with an agent who can help guide you will make the process smoother for all involved. 

THE APPRAISAL COMES IN LOW

When a seller accepts a buyer's offer, the mortgage lender working with the buyers will order an appraisal of your property to determine how much the home is worth in today's market. 

If that appraisal comes in low, the lender may not loan the buyer more than the appraised value. A seller can dispute the appraisal or accept a lower price on the home, but the better option is to set a competitive price based on comparable properties and market conditions.

THE HOME INSPECTOR FINDS A MAJOR PROBLEM

Here's the thing: home inspections always uncover problems. Most of them are minor issues that the buyers will be responsible for fixing - think loose hardware or faulty window seals. 

When a home inspector does find a major plumbing, electrical, HVAC or mold issue, the buyer and seller will negotiate repairs or credits. 

THERE ARE ISSUES WITH THE TITLE

Whether it be an IRS tax lien, contractor lien, or even unresolved lawsuit issues, any mark on a home's title can negatively affect the process and even impact a property's ability to be sold. 

One of the first steps after you make an offer on a property is to run a title report when listing the house or obtaining a loan against a property. At the first sight of a potential issue, a red flag is raised and should get addressed immediately. 

Ready to buy or sell in the near future? Give us a call and let one of our experienced agents help guide you through the process. 

December
14

First-Time Home Seller – 6 Tips For Selling Your First Home

Selling your home can be tough. Just about everyone will have strong emotions associated with a very first home – and these can make it harder to sell.

That's not just because you might be tempted to procrastinate. How we feel about a home can create a challenge: Putting the wrong price on it.

It's easy to overprice a property because of its sentimental value. Luckily, a local real estate expert can help. By researching recently-sold homes in the area, he or she can price any property to attract buyers.

Although pricing is best left to the professionals, there are many things you can do to help in selling your home faster. With these tips, you'll make it much more likely to connect with the right buyer and get to closing without a hitch:

  1. Decide on the Best Timing
    Timing is the second-biggest factor in selling your home, right behind price. Timing should strike a balance between meeting your needs and taking advantage of the home market's busiest seasons. Research has shown listings in early April tend to over-perform others in both time-to-sale and final price. Both spring and summer offer some great opportunities.
  2. Work on Any Crucial Repairs
    Necessary repair work is another factor that influences timing. Virtually all today's buyers will insist on a complete home inspection that discloses all issues in need of repair – and some insurers even require it. Problems that tend to spook buyers include electrical faults, sewer and septic, roofing near the end of its functional life, and signs of pest infestation. Especially termites!
  3. Stage Your Home
    Staging is an essential part of selling any home. You should plan to clean the house thoroughly and de-clutter. Removing large furniture items and clearing your closets makes a home look more open and airy. It's also a good idea to improve lighting: Use brighter bulbs and maximize natural light by removing any heavy window coverings. Your agent will have other suggestions, too.
  4. Get Professional Photos Done
    Photos are an essential piece in promoting any home. Would-be buyers want to see the whole property at its best. That means both interior and exterior images taken by an experienced photographer. The cameras used by professionals provide crisp, clear, vibrant photos that no cell phone can match. These will help your online home listing to stand out from the crowd.
  5. Get Ready for Open House
    An open house is the best way to attract buyers who are motivated to take action fast. Visitors will either learn that the property isn't right for them – saving both you and them some time – or end up more excited than ever. Work together with your real estate agent to make sure each visitor gets the personal touch from start to finish, including a folder of home photos and perks.
  6. Be Ready to Respond to Offers
    Buyers' offers come with an expiration date, so line everything up to move quickly. Look at all the practicalities – especially what it will take to get you out the door in time for closing day. Compare offers from various movers and discuss your move-out timeline. Consider moving inessential items to a storage facility. Ideally, you should aim to respond to buyer offers within three days.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Last but not least, be sure to give yourself time to bid your first home, "adieu." It can be a bittersweet time, but you are on to even greater adventures! An orderly selling process means a stress-free closing, and you can start to enjoy your new home even sooner.
December
6

Want To Sell In Winter? Here Are Some Shortcuts

While the real estate market usually slows down in the fall and winter, there is a common misconception that winter is a bad time to sell your home. Sellers should know that this is simply a myth. While the market might look a bit different in colder weather months, selling in the winter isn't necessarily difficult. In fact, there are many benefits to listing your between December and February. Competition is often lower, and buyers tend to be a bit more serious when house hunting.

If you're planning to list your home this winter, below are some shortcuts to help you expedite the selling process:

  • Create A Cozy Atmosphere
    Selling in the winter gives you an opportunity to wow buyers by creating a warm, cozy atmosphere. Make sure to turn up the heat before each showing, as a cold home can be a major turnoff. A good temperature is 70 to 72 degrees (don't make it too hot either). Also, make your rooms as bright as possible by opening blinds and turning on every light. If you have a fireplace — show it off! A fire is a great way to create a cozy atmosphere.

  • Keep Your Driveway And Sidewalks Clear
    When selling in the winter, you'll need to make sure your home is ready to show at a moment's notice. This means keeping the driveway and sidewalks clear of snow, ice, and debris. Be sure to break out the shovel and salt immediately following each snowstorm.

  • Keep Your Outdoor Features Visible
    Potential buyers are less likely to walk out onto the deck or around the backyard in the wintertime, so try to give them a good view of your outdoor amenities from the inside. Remove snow from any outdoor patio areas and make sure your blinds are open, so visitors can get a good view of the whole property.

  • Do Some Extra Cleaning
    Deep cleaning is important when selling, regardless of the time of year. However, many of us tend to spend more time indoors in the winter, which can lead to a bit more dirt and clutter. You may want to spend a bit of extra time cleaning if possible. Pay special attention to any entryways, which tend to accumulate quite a bit of mud and slush from people tracking snow indoors.

  • Don't Forget About Your Curb Appeal
    Curb appeal can take a hit in the winter when gardens and plants aren't in full bloom and seasonal furniture is in storage. However, you can still brighten things up by adding some nice LED lighting to your pathways and entrance. Make sure to also keep the yard free of dead leaves and debris.

Selling in the winter may present a different set of challenges, but sellers shouldn't be discouraged. It's not impossible, but you may need to adjust your strategy just a bit.

December
6

Expecting overnight guests soon? Don't fret – preparing for them isn't as time-consuming as you think! A good rule of thumb: Treat them the way you'd want to be treated in someone else's home.

Here are some quick and easy ways to get ready and make them feel welcome.

Corral the clutter. Tidy up and eliminate clutter in the main living areas to free up more space for increased foot traffic and make your home look its best.

Make space for unpacking. Your guests will appreciate having a place to unpack their suitcase, so clear some space in the guestroom closet and provide hangers. If there's a dresser, set aside a couple of empty drawers for their belongings.

Provide bathroom essentials. In addition to a set of towels for each guest, offer a selection of basic toiletries in case visitors forget something like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, even a disposable toothbrush. Another extra you'll find in every hotel is a hair dryer, so let them know ahead of time you have one so they don't need to carve out space in their suitcase.

Bedroom must-haves. Provide extra pillows and blankets, just in case, and a nightstand or table near the bed for their phones, glasses and a bottle of water. Everyone needs a place to charge their phone, so if an outlet isn't nearby or is hidden behind furniture, provide an extension cord. Another thoughtful touch: Leave your Wi-Fi password on a notecard and place it on the nightstand or dresser so they don't have to ask for it.

Stock the kitchen. Buy a variety of extra snacks and beverages and show visitors where everything is in the fridge and pantry so they feel comfortable grabbing a bite to eat or drink whenever they want.

Whether close family members or first-time visitors, guests will feel welcome when you take the time for these quick and easy preparations. You'll all be able to focus on having fun and enjoying your time together.

 

December
6

Up Your Curb Appeal With These Cheap Ideas

Never underestimate the importance of curb appeal when listing your home on the market. Curb appeal describes the appearance of your home from the street — it's inclusive of your facade, porch, front door, driveway, and landscaping. Your curb appeal is the first thing buyers see when viewing photos of your home online or visiting your home in person, so it's ultimately the key to making a good first impression.

Many sellers incorrectly assume improving curb appeal requires a large investment in landscaping or exterior renovations. The truth is, there are actually many easy, inexpensive things you can do to improve your facade and yard. Below are some quick ideas that can really grab a buyer's attention.

  1. Paint Your Front Door
    The front door is a major focal point of your facade, so it's important to keep it in good condition. Applying a fresh coat of paint to your front door can really help boost curb appeal. Consider changing its color to create a nice contrast between the door and the rest of your facade. A good-looking front door can also make other elements of your home's exterior stand out.
  2. Wash Away Dirt
    Use your garden house to rinse away dirt and debris from your driveway and sidewalk as well as your home's exterior. If you have a power washer, you may want to consider using it to really make your exterior shine. Just be careful when power washing your home's exterior as it could damage your windows.
  3. Maintain Your Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs
    While you don't need to make a significant investment in new landscaping to improve your curb appeal, trimming trees, bushes and shrubs is an easy and inexpensive way to clean up your yard. All you need is a good pair of sheers. By maintaining your landscaping, more of your home's facade will be visible from the street.
  4. Stage A Sitting Area
    A nice sitting area not only creates a welcoming vibe, but it helps potential buyers envision themselves using the space. If you have a front porch, it's easy to set up some patio furniture. If you don't, maybe try to stage a nice sitting area under a tree in the front yard. You can easily place some chairs around a center table or fire pit.
  5. Install A New Mailbox
    Your mailbox is the first thing many visitors see, so it absolutely factors into your curb appeal. If your mailbox is old or in disrepair, replacing it can give your home's exterior a fresh boost. Choose a color that matches your home's facade, and consider planting flowers or plants around its base. There are an endless number of mailbox designs, so choose one that really makes your home's personality.
  6. Maximize Your Lighting
    There are many different types of unique, low-voltage outdoor lighting products on the market. Adding accent lighting around your trees or LED lanterns along your sidewalk are two ways to really make your home stand out in the evening. String lights and lanterns can also make great additions to any front porch.
  7. Add Window Boxes
    An inexpensive, easy way to add some character to your facade is to install window boxes with planters. Wood planters can give your home a charming look, while metal boxes can appear more conventional. Add some flowers that match the color scheme of your facade.

Curb appeal not only makes your home stand out to potential buyers, but it can also increase your home value. You don't have to spend a lot of money to increase your curb appeal. With these tips, you can be well on your way to having the best front yard on the block.

December
6

Why You Should Talk With Your Agent Before Renovating

Putting work into a home you're about to sell may seem counterintuitive, but in some cases, it can land you a higher sale price. However, in other cases, major upgrades can be a sunk cost. So how do you know if a certain renovation is worth your time?

The truth is it can be difficult to know whether renovations will lead to a higher sale price, but this is where your real estate agent's expertise can be a big help. If you're planning to sell soon, here are a few reasons why it's essential to consult with your agent before making any major upgrades or renovations:

  • Your Agent Can Help You Avoid Costly Pitfalls
    The truth is most renovations don't result in a return. However, there are definitely a few exceptions. For example, you stand a good chance to generate a profit or at least break even on new kitchen appliances or an additional bathroom. However, you might be rolling the dice with other upgrades, such as a new roof — especially if your home can get by without it.

    Before beginning any upgrades, speak with an experienced real estate agent. They will be able to tell you where to focus your time and energy and give insight into what types of upgrades will help you boost your listing price.

  • Your Home Might Not Need Any Upgrades
    After taking a look at the property, a real estate agent might think your home is ready to sell as-is. Your agent is a wealth of information when it comes to what buyers look for, and this can help you avoid investing in unnecessary upgrades that won't generate a higher return. If you're selling in a low-inventory market, you might not have to stress about the small stuff in order to attract buyers.

  • Your Agent Has Connections
    If you're planning to renovate, finding good contractors at a good price can be a challenge, but remember, your real estate agent is likely well connected in the community. Most agents have a wide network of connections to local service providers. If you're in need of a plumber, carpenter, roofer, or electrician, ask your real estate agent ahead of time.

  • Your Agent Can Show You Examples
    Nobody knows the market quite like your real estate agent, so they can easily show you other examples of renovations made by local sellers. You can also see how those renovations influenced the sale price. This not only gives you a blueprint to follow when making your own upgrades but makes it easier to estimate your potential return.

While many sellers believe the right time to start working with an agent is when you're ready to list your home, the truth is you can start working with an agent any time. Consulting with one before beginning major upgrades can save you a lot in the long run.

December
3

'Tis the season to deck your halls and ring in the holidays with festive sophistication – and not necessarily with all the bells and whistles that come with it. There are subtle ways to sing the praises of the season and embrace its beauty while still maintaining an air of elegance and decorative flair.

A Hue or Two – Begin by choosing a color theme and keeping it to one or two hues for a consistent, overall holiday presentation. Complement your current interior design colorway for a decidedly defined ambience. And keep decorations to an impressive few, instead of filling up every open space with a multitude of festive accents – sometimes more can be less of a good thing.

Elements of Surprise – Let everyday items take a holiday and welcome in seasonal magic by swapping out common items like welcome mats, door wreaths, pillows and throws for festive ones. But beware, holiday kitsch can run amuck at the height of the season. Sure, novelties can be fun, but they're best reserved as a single conversation starter or in rooms where the kiddos tend to hang out.

Twinkle in Their Eyes – Draw attention with a dazzling display of monotone lights both inside and out for maximum impact and a cohesive look to your holiday décor. Remember that lighting is a mood maker and can create an inviting experience. Whether you add warmth to a room with wick-burning or battery-powered candles, or low-watt amber glass and vintage Edison bulbs, thoughtful lighting adds the perfect touch when celebrating the coziness of the season.

Tie It All Together – For a professional look, keep your theme consistent by repeating key elements of your holiday décor in all the rooms of your home. If you're planning on wrapping gifts that will be on display, match the wrapping paper to your decorations. Weave the same color gift-wrapping ribbon throughout your home, from packages and wreaths to centerpieces. Indulge your olfactory sense – introduce a favorite scent that will linger from room to room and further enhance the allure of the season – use fragrant candles, infused oils or even the earthy essence of cinnamon sticks simmering in a pot of boiling water.

As the song says, it's the most wonderful time of the year, so share in the enchantment of the season by making your home just as magical. Sprinkle in a bit of your own fairy dust to make an intriguing statement with a nod to your traditions but in your own inimitable style.

December
1

COLDWELL BANKER GOSSLEE WELCOMES REBECCA REYNOLDS 

(Shreveport, LA – December 1, 2021) –Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 real estate brokerage in Northwest Louisiana, welcomes Rebecca Reynolds to their team.

 

"I work hard to give my clients the best real estate experience possible when buying or selling their home," says Rebecca.  "Being around construction my entire life, it's natural for me to look for detail, quality and design and share that with my clients.  Finding diversity in the people I meet and properties I see in this industry is something I look forward to every day." 

 

Rebecca, daughter of Terry Glover and Glenda Gafford, is a lifelong resident of Shreveport, having graduated from Southwood High School before earning her dental assistant certificate.  She built her own successful business and is now a Camp Gladiator personal fitness coach.  She and husband, Ivor, are proud parents of Mackenzie (18), a senior at Captain Shreve High School; Anna (14), a freshman at Captain Shreve; and Rush (12), a 6th grader at Youree Drive Middle School.  They are members of River Park Church, Elks Lodge, and love anything outdoors and involving water.

 

Rebecca can be reached at her Shreveport office (318-861-2461), on her cell (318-990-0327), or email her at RebeccaLGReynolds@gmail.com.  

 

To learn how Coldwell Banker Gosslee has been #1 for the 29th straight year, go to CBGosslee.com

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