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Date Archives: February 2022

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February
25

WOW…IT'S THE ONLY WORD
By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

I've been in real estate for a long time and cannot remember a market like this. Not only are we seeing continued record demand, but the supply of homes for sale has shrunk again to an all-time low. And while normally I call Northwest Louisiana a "Steady Eddie" market where we don't traditionally follow the patterns of the rest of the nation, today we are just like most of America, and in some instances, have an even more challenging market.

Before I get into the state of the market and a look at the numbers, I wanted to provide some thoughts to both buyers and sellers.

As I now routinely share, those who are interested in selling their home are in a great position. We have plenty of buyers. This supply vs. demand imbalance has created a "seller's market" where sellers are in the negotiating advantage. While we discourage sellers from trying to time the market, we may be nearing a peak of rising prices simply because increasing mortgage rates may eventually pull some prospective buyers out of the market. Even the slight difference in monthly payments associated with a 4% mortgage rate might be a stretch for some. As this occurs, bidding wars cool, prices begin to level off and sellers don't see the same annual appreciation as we've had over the last few years.

This places buyers in a precarious situation. Many have down payment funds, solid jobs and every other intangible needed to become a homeowner. They just don't have enough homes to choose from. It's therefore critically important to retain the services of a full-time real estate professional who has their "ear-to-the-ground" and knows what homes are coming onto the market. Remember, agents with companies like Coldwell Banker Gosslee who do well in attracting sellers are hugely beneficial today. They have inside knowledge and that advantage can position you well in being ahead of the buying pack.

Potential buyers need to be ready to move quickly. Along with having your must-have/nice-to-have/not-that-important list ready-to-go, you also will need mortgage pre-approval. Don't miss this step! Along with telling a potential seller that you are a great buyer candidate, the pre-approval process also lets you best understand the price-range you can afford and want to be in.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or any one of our agents. We are here to help.

Now let's jump into the most recent statistics that prove, once again, we are in a "Wow" market like no other. Normally January is a slow month in real estate, but not this year. There were 368 sales last month, 9 less than last year but 88 more than our rolling five-year average of 280, an increase of 31%!

We must remember that our local sales decline, and the national year-over-year 2.6% decrease according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), is lower from the off-the-charts, fast-paced, pandemic-fueled housing market of 2020-2021. Demand remains strong and we expect it will remain so for the foreseeable future. Need proof? We entered January 2022 with 618 pending sales – indicating they are in some phase of the purchase cycle. That's a lot. Another reason why we don't anticipate a reduction in buyer activity is rising mortgage rates. As we head to the 4% range, we will likely see a sense of urgency for some buyers who want to lock-in lower rates.

At the same time that sales are brisk, our inventory levels have shrunk. We entered February with only 737 homes on the market – an all-time low – which is 140 less than last year when I also shared how low we were. This equates to a super-low 1.5 month supply. It was 1.9 months last year and 4.4 months two years ago. To put that into context, our normal rate is about 5-6 months.

We are mirroring the supply problem seen nationwide. NAR recently shared its Existing Home Sales Report that showed there were a record-low 860,000 homes for sale nationwide. This was down 16.5% over January 2021 and equated to a 1.6 month supply.

Another area where we are in lock-step with the nation is in the pace of our housing market. Nationally, homes are selling in just 19 days, down from 21 a year ago. And a whopping 79% of all U.S. homes sold in 30 days-or-less. Locally we are at the same 19 days, but much quicker than last year's 27 days.

But we differed from the nation in one critical area – prices. Nationally, NAR reported the median (middle of all sold homes) price was $350,300, up 15.4% over January 2021. But the median price in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes was down 3.0% to $182,450. I don't think I've used "down" and "prices" in the same sentence for a while. But, there is a big reason for this. There were 19 more $100,000-or-less home sales last month than there were a year ago – Caddo Parish was up 49% - along with a slower pace at the top price points.

This chart compares how Northwest Louisiana compares to the U.S. in a variety of categories according to NAR's Existing Home Sales report:

 

U.S.
(change over Jan. '21)
Northwest LA
(change over Jan. '21)

Median Price

$350,300/+15.8

$182,450/-3%

Number of Sales

6.5 million/-2.3%
(annualized)

368/-2%

Inventory

860,000/-16.5%

737/-16%

Months' Supply

1.6/1.9

1.5/1.9

Median Days on Market

19/21

19/27

Now let's get even closer to where you live. Caddo Parish was especially strong in the lowest price point while the $200,000-$300,000 range also continues to boom. This chart shows how the various price points fared in January sales in our three parishes:

Price Range

YoY Number of Home Sales NW LOUISIANA
(% change over Jan. 2021

YoY Number of Home Sales in Bossier Parish (% change over Jan. 2021

YoY Number of Home Sales in Caddo Parish (% change over Jan. 2021

YoY Number of Home Sales in Desoto Parish (% change over Jan. 2021

Total

368 (-2%)

122 (-21%)

239 (+13%)

9 (-25%)

$100,000 & less

79 (+32%)

12 (-14%)

67 (+49%)

2 (+100%)

$100,000-$200,000

124 (-18%)

35 (-33%)

87 (-4%)

2 (-75%)

$200,000-$300,000

104 (+13%)

48 (+12%)

54 (+13%)

     2 (0%)

$300,000-$400,000

36 (-25%)

19 (-41%)

16 (+7%)

1 (0%)

$400,000-$500,000

13 (-13%)

4 (-50%)

8 (+14%)

1 (+100%)

$500,000-
$600,000

5 (-17%)

     2 (-50%)

2 (0%)

1 (100%)

$600,000+

7 (+40%)

2 (0%)

5 (+67%)

0 (0%)

I also want to share these next two charts that break down our January sales and inventory in Northwest Louisiana over the last 5 years. The increases in sales are dramatic:

Price Range

January 2022 Sales

January 2018 Sales

Total

368

253

$100,000 & less

79

72

$100,000-$200,000

124

105

$200,000-$300,000

104

53

$300,000-$400,000

36

16

$400,000-$500,000

13

3

$500,000+

12

4

Now compare the increase in sales to the decrease over the same period of time in the number of available homes and you'll clearly see the supply vs. demand imbalance:

Price Range

January 2022 Available Homes

January 2018 Available Homes

Total

737

2,126

$100,000 & less

220

445

$100,000-$200,000

213

761

$200,000-$300,000

133

456

$300,000-$400,000

59

221

$400,000-$500,000

37

101

$500,000+

75

142

You can see that our market needs more listings. This makes it an ideal time to put your home on the market IF you are prepared to do so. That preparation involves being emotionally ready and having as much information as possible.

Along with knowing the value of your home and the equity you have gained, our agents are also helping their clients – and potential clients – connect with a quality agent in the market they are interested in moving to if it's outside of our region. This added value is proving to be extremely important as that agent, who has obvious local expertise where they live and work, helps answer many questions and address concerns that are part of the decision to sell.

If you enjoyed this blog and want to see even more data and information, take a look at our Coldwell Banker Gosslee Monthly Report. And of course, feel free to reach out to me at bgosslee@cbgosslee.com.

 

 

 

 

 

February
25

January 2022 Market Overview
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, Desoto Parishes only)

To view or download the full report click here.

January Summary:  Sales demand remains high.  Average price down a little.  Inventory at all-time record low.

Sales:  Historically speaking, sales this January were very strong but they were down a little compared to last January. There were 368 sales posted this January versus 377 last year.  That's only 9 less sales, but still down.  The 5 year average for January on the other hand is only 280. So while we did not top January sales from last year (which was a record by the way) we were still up a whopping +31% above our normal sales average for January.  These results differ though when you drill down on each parish. Sales in Caddo were actually up +13% versus January last year while Desoto parish was down –25% and Bossier parish was down –21%.    This is primarily due to the lack of available inventory for buyers to purchase.  We need more listings to meet the current buyer demand.   Builders are trying to meet this demand with new construction but lack of labor and materials is an ongoing challenge.

Unit Sales YTD by price range vs. last year:

Inventory:  Listing inventory bottomed in May of last year at 774. Since then, it climbed back to the low 900's where hovered for the last few months. However, it has now dropped again back down to 737 which is officially an all-time low.  With 368 homes sold in January and only 737 currently on the market, the Monthly Supply (using the 12 month trailing average) of homes is now only 1.5 which is unchanged from last month. This is incredibly low for the Shreveport-Bossier market.  Just 12 months ago, the monthly supply was 1.9, and two years ago it was 4.4. There were 499 new listings that came on the market in January in all price ranges but the majority were put under contract shortly after hitting the market.  There are currently 618 properties in pending sale status.  This is up from 562 last month.   

PricesWith the continued low inventory and strong sales demand, you would think prices would continue to climb every month.  However, the average home price declined this January.  Primarily because there were more sales in the Under $100k price segment than we had been seeing lately.  The average price this January was $201,626 versus $231,165 last month and $213,370 last year. On a price per square foot basis though, sale prices were pretty much flat at $103.58/ft versus $103.97/ft last year.  

January 2022 Comparative Market Statistics
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, Desoto Parishes Only)

January 2022 Absorption Rates
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, & Desoto Parishes Only)

The following figures are through the month of January 2022

Currently, there are 737 total homes for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 500 homes have sold per month on average.
That's a 1.5 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 499 homes came on the market.
 
Currently there are 220 homes priced below $100,000 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 74 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 3.0 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 102 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 213 homes priced between $100,000 and $199,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 179 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 1.2 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 142 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 133 homes priced between $200,000 and $299,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 147 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 0.9 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 144 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 59 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 1.1 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 59 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 37 homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 26 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 28 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 75 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 4.1 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 24 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 2/16/2022
Author: Brad Gosslee of Coldwell Banker Gosslee
Information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.
February
25

How to create a chill home atmosphere:

1. PURGE + ORGANIZE Is it just us or do you also only use the top-most layer of every drawer, closet, and cabinet? WHY! Let's purge the things we're never even considering and organize the rest - Home Edit Style!

2. MAKE IT PRETTY Now that you've purged and are in organization mode, you might as well make it pretty. Organized spaces give you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people have 'chill' homes.

3. GIVE EVERYTHING A DESIGNATED SPOT If it doesn't have a home, it's going to create clutter (in your home and your head)! Make sure everything has an assigned seat. If you feel far off from this idea becoming reality, start by keeping a list of categories that need a "spot". This could be pieces of mail that need to be addressed, keys, accessories, backpacks, skincare products and paperwork piles.

Maybe what you need is a drop zone for when you get home for the day. A designated place to put all your "essentials"!

4. OUTSOURCE. OUTSOURCE. OUTSOURCE. Do you DEPISE cutting the grass? Check in your neighborhood for a middle or high school student who wants to make some extra money. Hire a monthly or even quarterly cleaning crew to do a deep clean of your home. What will make you feel more relaxed at home?

5. MAKE YOUR BED! The easiest, yet wisest advice that ever existed! I don't know what it is about making your bed, but it does make you feel more put together (even if you don't see it for the rest of the day)! This tiny task sets you up for success and takes less than 2 minutes!

6. TURN THE LIGHT, TURN THE LIGHTS DOWN LOW  Seriously, dim the lights! The lighting in your home contributes so much to the overall ambiance. If it's too bright and stark, it's going to feel cold. Warm it up by dimming lights and putting dimmer switches on all of the lights in your home!

HAPPY HOME CHILLIN'!

February
23

How To Prepare Your Home For New Buyers

Sometimes, the hardest part about selling your home isn't negotiating the home inspection or even packing up to move...it's saying goodbye to the home where you lived and made memories. 

After helping many home sellers navigate their way to the next chapter, I know how emotional this step can be. So today I'm sharing 3 things that you can do as a seller to prepare your home for the owners:

1. Pack A Box For Your House.

When you're packing for your move, designate one box for the house. Put inside anything that has to do with your home maintenance or upkeep: appliance manuals, smart home tech/electronics guides and passwords, garage door openers, home maintenance records, vendor business cards or contact information, remote controls. 

2. Leave It As Clean As Possible.

When you turn the keys over to the new buyers, your home should be "broom clean" -- you don't have to hire a cleaning service or spend hours deep cleaning the baseboards. But, it's still a good idea to leave your home in the same condition you'd want to receive it. 

Be sure all of your personal belongings are out -- including the attic, basement and crawl space and the top of your closet shelves, too! 
 
3. Pass On Your Home's History.

This isn't about telling your buyers when you last had your chimneys swept or your furnace inspected. This is all about giving your new buyer a glimpse at the history of your home. Do you know any fun facts about the original owners, or the time period in which your house was built? Pass those fun facts on to your buyer -- they'll want to know everything they can about your home! 

BONUS TIP: Welcome your buyers with a note or a small gift (wine or beer from a local brewery, local coffee or tea, or a gift card to your favorite restaurant). They'll be thrilled to know that the previous owners took so much care in their home!

February
22

Have you ever fantasized about pooling your funds with your best friend or family and buying your ultimate dream house? Maybe even on a tropical island!?

Good news: that dream might not be so far off! 

You don't need to be married to someone to buy a home together. The National Association of Realtors said that 9% of home buyers in 2020 wre unmarried couples, according to the National Association of Realtors. Although younger millennial (22-30 years old) represent 20% of unmarried purchasers, acquiring property as partners is a cross-generational trend. 

Co-buyers have fewer protections than married couples if the relationship ends or one partner passes away, so if you're thinking about buying a home with a friend, sibling, partner or loved one, here are a few things you'll want to consider:

1. Unmarried couples will apply for a mortgage as individuals, not a single unit. This means you'll each have to provide proof of income, employment, assets and funds. 
2. When processing your mortgage application, lenders will use the median credit score of the person with lower credit to establish a rate. This can be problematic if there is a major disparity in credit score between both parties. 
3. If you both want equal share in the property, consider holding the title as joint tenants. This means that if one of you were to pass away unexpectedly, the surviving partner would retain full ownership of the home vs. the deceased's share being passed on to their next of kin. 
4. In any situation, consider having an attorney draw up a cohabitation property agreement to outline what will happen in the event one of you wants to move/separate. 

Have you ever considered buying a home with a friend, or relative? Reach out to us today and let one of our experienced agents guide you along the way.
Bossier City Office 318-747-5411
Shreveport Office 318-861-2461
February
21

Checklists are helpful for running a well-maintained home, but they need their own organizing. A runaway checklist may only overwhelm a homeowner if not broken down into manageable chunks. So divvy up each task and assign it to the right season and calendar month. Warm weather chores are better left tackled in balmier weather, while inside jobs give you an excuse to hunker down indoors and get it tip-top.

Winter: The Season of Complete Content. Devote the first few months of the year to getting your home in order. Detail interior rooms like you would a car, deep clean them all over to white-glove standards, straighten closets, cupboards and declutter – the results will bring a sense of calm. Add these often overlooked items to your cleaning list: ceiling fans, fridge and freezer, humidifiers, carpets and rugs.

Spring Into Action. It's called "spring cleaning" for a reason. Spread out labor-intensive chores and give yourself only one big job to do each month in spring, such as rotating mattresses, replacing storm windows with screens, or maintaining the heating system and air conditioner by changing filters and cleaning. This is also the season to prepare flower beds, reseed and aerate lawns and service the lawn mower.

Take It Outside. Late spring to early summer is the time to bring out the patio furniture, planter boxes and garden art, prepare the grill for barbeques and the deck for entertaining. Use the start of the social season to wash the porch, clean the firepit, replace welcome mats and then send invitations to friends for an outdoor party. Play it safe and check home devices like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.

The Inside Story. Prepare to take it indoors this time of year. Check doors for drafts and windows for cracks, clean out the gutters after the trees drop the last of their autumn show, deadhead flowers, wrap fragile shrubs and mulch garden beds to prevent heaving in cold temps. Chimney's require a thorough sweep prior to winter to enjoy a roaring fire safely, and servicing the snow blower is a must if there's a chance a blizzard may come to your town.

Take control of the many things to do around the house by making a clear-cut, year-long plan. You'll find you feel more organized, less stressed and have more time to sit back, relax and look at all you've accomplished throughout the year.

Guest Post written by Tracy Ellison.

Tracy Ellison is a creative content writer for The Studio, providing insightful information and ideas to enhance the art of living, with a background as an advertising photo stylist, designer, artist and copywriter.

February
18

No drive time, no waiting for machines, no monthly membership dues, just you and the workout of your choice. Home gym equipment and fitness streaming services have been off the charts over the last few years. It's a trend that looks like it's here to stay. Here are few ideas to help you create the home gym of your dreams.

Go big for less. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars in bulky gym equipment to get big results. Start with a $20 yoga mat, a couple sets of dumbbells, resistant bands and jump rope. Next, you can either YouTube some free workout videos or sign up for an inexpensive fitness streaming service. With this equipment alone, you have the perfect mix of strength training, cardio and stretching. The best part, it's just a few steps away.

Create a studio experience. All the rage are app-based machines. From rowing to biking to running, you can quickly burn calories and increase muscle with an interactive, trainer lead workout. Designed for every level, these on-demand workouts make you feel like you're in an actual class. Many people find them both motivating and addicting. Either way, you're going to work up a sweat in the comfort of your own home.

Smart gyms that really save space. For some people making room for a home gym means you might need to get a little creative. What if you're entire gym was attached right to your wall and looks just like a full-length mirror? Say hello to smart gyms. These space-saving, personal training smart gyms include access to a library of curated classes for every fitness level and workout type. Talk about a sleek and innovative way to work up a good sweat. You will pay a little more for these, but if space is an issue, it might just be worth it.

Whatever your needs are, you can always add equipment along the way. When it comes to a working out, consistency and variety are key, so don't be afraid to switch things up!

Guest post written by:  Rachael Carlson

February
16

Ready to cut some extra costs and live more sustainably? With just a few small changes, you can make a big impact on the environment and on your energy bills. Going green is a great way to minimize waste, help the environment, reduce your energy bills and just live healthier. To start, here are a few ways you can make your home more energy efficient:

Consider Energy Star appliances. Replacing your appliances with Energy Star certified appliances is a smart way to save money and reduce your overall energy bill. You'll also be helping the environment since these appliances are designed to cause fewer harmful emissions. Plus, you'll still enjoy the same great features, quality and performance you've come to know and expect.

Insulate your home. According to Energy Star, homeowners can save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation. You can start by simply sealing air leaks, installing weather strips and caulking your windows. If you happen to be doing a home renovation, it might be the perfect time to add more insulation.

Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats not only save money but relieve you of having to remember to adjust the temperature when you leave the house, go on vacation, or even go to bed at night. If you get yourself a smart thermostat, you can instantly change the temperature right on an app. These handy devices can save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs.

 Invest in energy efficient light bulbs. Replacing older incandescent lighting with highly efficient light bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is one of the easiest and most profitable green technology investments you can make. Although these can initially cost more than traditional bulbs, they use up to 90% less energy, saving about $55 in electricity costs over their lifetime.

Go solar. You can make a big difference by installing solar panels. Solar power systems have decreased by nearly 70% in price over the last few years, making installation more attainable for homeowners. Plus, many states offer incentives for solar panel installation.

Plant a garden. A fun way to go green is to plant your own garden. It's a convenient way to save money on groceries while also enjoying the fruits of your labor. Remember, your garden doesn't have to be big or even outdoors. From container boxes to indoor grow systems, you can easily create the garden of your dreams while minimizing your overall carbon footprint.

These are just a few ways you can save more money over time, minimize waste and help the environment.  As you can see, it's really pretty easy to live more sustainably!

Guest post written by:  Rachael Carlson

February
14

How To Love Your Home Right Now

Are you curious to know what we mean by that? We can explain.

Our days are busy. Most of them consist of just getting through our to do list, getting kids fed, bathed and put to bed. We are lucky if we get to squeeze in 5 minutes to ourselves before making lunches.

But don't miss little opportunities to love your home in the midst of the busy. Here are some of our favorite (and super simple) ideas on how to do just that:

No. 1

Add a new piece of furniture to a room that feels like it's missing something. You could also shop your home and swap a piece from another room that better fits the space you're wanting to finish. Do you need a comfy chair for reading by the fireplace, a bookshelf to store the stack of books scattered around your living room, a plant to add life to your space? Fill in what's missing. 

No. 2

Go all out for dinner! Plate your meals, use your serving dishes, set the table, sit at the table (not in front of the TV), light some candles, turn up the ambiance with a good playlist in the background and take your time eating. 

No. 3

Pick one space to "refresh". We are not talking about a full-on renovation or tearing down walls, but a simple update. A fresh coat of paint, re-arranging the furniture, a new lamp or light fixture, updating the rug, or adding a piece of artwork from your own camera roll. Find a photo from your camera roll from a recent vacation or event to have printed and framed. 

No. 4

Make it a routine to set the scene. Think of the little things. Light the candle while you are watching a movie, diffuse lavender oil before crawling into bed, hang eucalyptus in the shower, turn on a good podcast to listen to while you working. Bring good vibes to whatever it is you're doing at home with the little things. 

No. 5

A clean home is guaranteed to help you love it more. Even if it's just picking up the clutter and wiping down the counters. So determine what your home needs most - quick clean or a deep clean. Turn on a Spotify playlist your love and get to work. When you are all done, sit down in your favorite chair and enjoy the feeling of a squeakly clean home. 

Now. It's time to show your home how much you love it!

February
11

Sure, location is important, but the three Ls in real estate are landscaping, landscaping, and landscaping.Whether you're thinking about putting your home on the market or just want to be prepared, you're looking for the best possible price. A clean, fresh place with a comfortable vibe, both inside and out, draws prospective buyers. And since the first thing to catch their eye is your landscaping, that's the place to start. Landscaping focuses on the lawn, trees, and plants in your yard, but architectural features also increase the value of your home.

Landscape Maintenance Program​

Curb appeal is the name of the game when you're sprucing up your home. A vibrant green lawn is what buyers want to see. A landscape maintenance program covers the basics to keep your lawn looking its best. This includes mowing, edging and trimming, fertilization, pest control, and leaf removal. The National Association of Realtors lists landscape maintenance as a priority when selling your home, with a return on investment, or ROI, of 100%. You can do it yourself if you are diligent, but it may be more cost-effective to hire a lawn care professional who knows how to keep your yard in tip-top shape.

Landscape Upgrade   

Since you're going to be taking meticulous care of your lawn, why not do an overall landscape upgrade? This can include switching up your front walkway from concrete to natural flagstone, adding large stone planters, mulching with landscaping bark, and putting in flowering shrubs and a tree or two. The estimated cost of these projects is $6000, with a return of around $5000. That's an ROI of 83%. And in a drought-prone area, take those upgrades a step further and help protect your property from fire. Surround your home with hardscaping, use fire-resistant plants and trees, and space them 5 to 30-feet away from your home.

Outdoor Living Spaces

The pandemic of the last couple of years forced many of us to spend more time at home. So today's buyers are focused on comfort and livability. Putting in a patio, or refurbishing an existing one, attracts buyers and increases your home's value. An outdoor kitchen and entertaining area extends your living space.

Set up cozy chairs and sofas made specifically for the outdoors. Add some colorful throw pillows, and don't forget an outdoor table to center the space. A well-designed patio with comfortable features has an ROI of up to 80% and adds 8-10% to a home's value.

Fire Pit

While you're busy making the outdoors all cozy and comfy, don't forget a fire pit. Nights around the fire, toasting marshmallows, or just chatting with family and friends create lasting memories and add an air of relaxation to your yard. Gas pits will add more value to your home due to ease of use, but wood-burning pits also boost the value. Both have pros and cons, and you'll need to do some research to see which works best for you. Adding a fire feature to your landscaping provides an ROI of about 70%.

Outdoor Lighting

Once you create a cozy outdoor living space, you want to be able to use it at night. That's where outdoor lighting comes into play. When deciding how to incorporate it into the landscaping, consider where light is needed for safety and security, as well as any features you want to highlight. Don't overdo it. You want to enhance your yard at night, not blind your guests with spotlights. Outdoor lighting done right can add up to 10% to your home's value.

Automated Sprinkler System

Automating your sprinkler system not only adds home value, it gives you one less thing to worry about and helps conserve water! You can come home knowing that part of your yard maintenance is already done. Or you can travel without worrying about whether your lawn is getting enough water.

While installing an irrigation system can be costly, you can recoup that money in the long-term. Monthly water bills will likely decrease, as sprinklers come on only during optimal times of the day and use just the right amount of water. Cost estimates for a 3000 square foot lawn are around $3500. With an estimated cost recovery at $3000, that's an ROI of 86%.

Making these landscaping improvements increases the odds for a faster sale and a better price. Buyers want to move in and relax, not have to make the changes themselves.

 

Zach Edwards is a lifestyle and landscape and design writer. He has refurbished a number of older homes and commercial buildings with a focus on spaces for entertaining.

February
8

This surprising home trend is going to be especially prominent for home buyers this year...

What is it? Mental health and wellness. 

The past two years have been hard on our collective mental health. As a result, home buyers are looking for thoughtful wellness designs at home. Whether you're thinking about selling this spring or simply want to add a little bit of 'om' into your own home, here's how: 

Spa-like bathrooms: People are skipping the local day spa and indulging in at-home facials, skincare and even hydrotherapy -- Zillow reports that a freestanding bathtub can lead to a 2.6 percent premium a home's sale price. Stage your bathroom with plush white towels and scented candles or a relaxing aromatherapy scent. 

Spaces with lots of natural light: Especially important in home offices, keep those windows open and curtains pulled back to keep your home as light and bright as possible. If you don't have big windows, strategically placed mirrors can make rooms feel bigger and brighter.

Outdoor living: During the lockdown and quarantines, getting outside was crucial to self-care. We hope that 2022 won't see any stay-at-home restrictions, but people are still prioritizing private outdoor spaces to live, work and entertain. Play up your outdoor space by painting porch railings, installing an outdoor fan or fire pit, and styling outdoor seating with cozy cushions and/or throw pillows.

At-home gym space: Buyers want to get those endorphins wherever it's most convenient and many need space for those pandemic Peloton purchases. Instead of cramming gym equipment into the living room, find a separate space for it, hang shelves to contain hand weights or towels, and add a plants or two to keep the space smelling fresh. 

Do you have a space in your home dedicated to self-care or wellness? What is it like? ​

February
7

'Tis the season to make buyers fall in LOVE with your home. So let's talk about our top out-of-the-box ideas to help your home stand out above the rest this selling season.

STRATEGY 1: MAKE A TOP 10 LIST

Grab a piece of paper and pull up a chair. Pretend we're having coffee and we are considering buying your house! Our question to you is: What are your top 10 favorite things about living here?

Write those 10 things down! Make sure you think beyond "we updated the kitchen 2 years ago" because people will be able to see that in the photos. Think about things that you might not see in photos and how you actual use your home.

This might be the bike path that is practically in your backyard that you take to grab coffees in the morning. Maybe it's the neighborhood cookie exchange or the great sunroom you host book club in. Be specific about why you love where you live (and remember you can include local amenities too)!

STRATEGY 2: The key to the buyer's HEARTS

Your home's little black book - aka documentation of all your home data.

Buyers want to know it all (age of the roof, why you're moving, when the kitchen was renovated, the colors and location of the extra paint, all of it).

It might sound boring, but sharing all the data of your home helps build confidence in the buyers. They have peace of mind knowing that the house has been well loved (maintained) and that they aren't buying a money pit. To make it official, pick up a $3 binder at Target and put all the documents in one place. Stick that Top 10 List at the front and wa-la! You have a little black book for buyers!

BONUS IDEA: Include any contractors or services you use consistently such as lawn care, the HVAC company, the handyman, cleaning services, etc.

STRATEGY 3: SET THE MOOD

We don't want your home to scream "WE LIVE HERE," but we do want it to scream "YOU'LL WANT TO LIVE HERE" to the buyers! The easiest way to do that is to set the mood. This is all about showcasing the lifestyle of your home. How do you LIVE in your home?

Here are a few ideas and ways you can set the mood in your home:

1. Leave a bottle of wine and 2 glasses in your favorite seating area (the sunroom, at the coffee table, or on the kitchen island).

2. Turn on a movie in your TV or Theater room to create the experience for the buyers.

3. Have a gorgeous bathroom? Stage it. Add a tray to the tub with a candle, a loofa and a book.

STRATEGY 4: LEAVE A NOTE FOR THE BUYERS

This might sound weird but this kind of goes hand in hand with the Top 10 list and gives the buyers insight into what it might be like to live there. It also warms them up to the fact that there are real humans living in the house vs. thinking of the purchase like a business deal.

The note can be super simple. Something like this:

"Welcome! You could be the next homeowners!
We hope you enjoy touring our home! One of our favorite spots to sit is on the back patio to watch the sunset. Feel free to grab a bottle of water from the mini fridge in the kitchen and take it out there with you. Coffee is great out there in the mornings as well. It's such a peaceful yard. The flower garden to the left is filled with sunflowers in the Fall which makes a great picture spot. Happy house hunting!"
-The Sellers

This is a pretty easy "extra" and a nice touch for the buyers!

And that's a wrap! Which one was your favorite and which one would you like the most as the buyer?

February
4

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

To view or download the full report click here.

December Summary:  Sales up.  Average price higher again.  Inventory levels dropped back down to record lows.

Sales:  Sales in December finished off 2021 with a bang. There were 468 sales posted this December versus 446 last month and 450 last year....and yes, another record was broken. This was the most sales ever posted in any December on record. The 5 year average for December is only 356 so we were up about +31% above our normal sales average for December. Sales year to date for 2021 wrapped up the year up +10% which is incredible considering last year was up +13% over 2019. If you compare 2021 to 2019, sales were up a whopping +24%...WOW!. These results differ though when you drill down on each parish. Sales in Desoto parish actually ended up down –15% for 2021 due to the very low inventory available for sale. The normal amount of speculative new construction houses we usually see in Desoto were not built in 2021 due to the dramatic price increase in lumber and other building materials. This was the case in Caddo and Bossier too but these parishes still had ample existing inventory available for buyers to purchase when new construction slowed. Caddo had the most available homes for sale which is why it was up the most last year at +14% and Bossier wasn't far behind up +8% for the 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 where hovered for the last few months. However, it has now dropped again back down to 770 which is officially an all time low.  With 468 homes sold in December and only 770 currently on the market, the Monthly Supply (using the 12 month trailing average) of homes is now only 1.5 which is down from 1.8 last month. This is incredibly low for the Shreveport-Bossier market.  Just 12 months ago, the monthly supply was 2.3, and two years ago it was 4.5. There were 354 new listings that came on the market in December in all price ranges but the majority were put under contract shortly after hitting the market.  There are currently 562 properties in pending sale status.  This is down from 590 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 and beyond.

PricesWith the continued low inventory and strong sales activity in the higher price ranges, the average home price continued to climb all year. Year to date, the average home price for the year finished up at $221,840 versus $200,619 last year. On a price per square foot basis, sale prices for the year averaged $109.75. per sq.ft. versus $100.08 last year.  

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

 
December 2021 Absorption Rates
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, & Desoto Parishes Only)

The following figures are through the month of December 2021

Currently, there are 770 total homes for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 500 homes have sold per month on average.
That's a 1.5 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 354 homes came on the market.
  
Currently there are 223 homes priced below $100,000 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 72 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 3.1 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 44 homes came on the market in this price range.  
  
Currently there are 220 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 1.2 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 116 homes came on the market in this price range.
  
Currently there are 141 homes priced between $200,000 and $299,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 146 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 112 homes came on the market in this price range.
    
Currently there are 73 homes priced between $300,000 and $399,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 57 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's an 1.3 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 41 homes priced between $400,000 and $499,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 26 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 16 homes came on the market in this price range.
   
Currently there are 72 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 3.9 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 16 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 1/14/2022
Author: Brad Gosslee of Coldwell Banker Gosslee
Information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.
February
4

Designed for Sale: The Fine Art of Home Staging

There are plenty of reasons to consider staging before selling your home, including the possibility of a faster sale and a higher offer price. While properly staging a home truly is an art, it's also something you can learn to do if you follow some basic guidelines. These simple tips will help you get started. 

Start with a Clean Slate 
As soon as you start thinking about selling your home, it's a good idea to begin decluttering. By the time you're ready to start staging, you should have packed up and moved out almost all of your personal items and given the entire home a deep cleaning. 

Keep the Kitchen Clean and Minimal
When staging your kitchen, remember that less is more. Make sure your counters are spotless and clear of clutter. Also, keep decor to a bare minimum. Consider placing a flower vase or small succulent on the counter and a decorative teakettle on the stove, and nothing more. 

If your cabinets could use a refresh and you don't have the money to replace them, breathe new life into them by adding a coat of paint and replacing the hardware.

Make The Living Room Super Comfy
When you're selling your home, you want potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Since the living room is where most families spend their time, this room must be appealing.

Once you remove your personal items, the living room may look a bit cold. Bring back a cozy, inviting feel by choosing attractive lamps for your end tables and adding a few books or tasteful decor items on shelves. Consider adding a rich-toned area rug and matching throw pillows on the couch. Just be careful not to go too crazy with colors and patterns as these can be distracting. 

Go Classic in the Dining Room
Even if you never used your dining room, the new buyer might. Make sure it's inviting by clearing off the tabletop and adding an attractive, easy-to-maintain centerpiece. Place an area rug under the table and a matching table runner on top. This simple, classic staging will appeal to almost any homebuyer. 

Create a Bedroom Oasis
Remember, when you're selling your home, it's all about making the buyer feel like they'll love calling it their own. After the living room, the bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. While staging every bedroom isn't critical to selling your home, the master is definitely a must. 

To make sure it's as appealing to as many potential buyers as possible, stick to neutral, soothing colors like cream, gray, or shades of blue. Avoid crazy patterns and keep the decor simple. 

Give the Bathroom Hotel Spa Vibes
When selling your home, you might not think much about the bathrooms, other than cleaning them. However, there are many staging opportunities here. Consider a decorative mirror to give the room a touch of class. Don't forget about accessories like fluffy towels, decorative soaps, and other serene finishing touches. 

The Many Things to Consider When Selling Your Home
Proper staging is just one of the many important things you'll need to consider when selling your home. From deciding on the asking price to understanding negotiating tactics and marketing methods, a great real estate agent will guide you every step of the way and make selling your home a breeze! 

February
2

Here's How Many Bedrooms You Really Need

Purchasing a new home comes with many decisions that impact your finances as well as your current and future needs. While a small two-bedroom home may be fine now, it may not serve you well down the road. As your family grows and changes, a quaint two-bedroom home may become crowded and uncomfortable, leaving you with two costly options — move to a larger home or build additions on your current one.

Before buying a new home, it's important to consider how many bedrooms you really need. While it's easy to change your home's decor, it's not easy to change the square footage when you outgrow your home's essential living spaces, especially bedrooms. To prevent cramped quarters, consider your current and future needs before you sign on the dotted line.

  • Current Sleeping Needs
    Start by assessing your current bedroom needs. If you're a married couple with two children, you may want to start with a baseline of three bedrooms, giving each child their own bedroom for privacy and future growth. While children often share bedrooms when they are young, this usually becomes an uncomfortable situation as they grow older. If you have three or four children, you may need a larger home with four or five bedrooms to accommodate everyone's sleeping requirements.


  • Future Sleeping Needs
    While it may be difficult to predict your future needs, it's important to think about possible changes that may impact sleeping requirements. If you're a young couple without children but plan on them down the road, you should factor that into your bedroom requirements. If your finances allow, purchase a three or four-bedroom home that provides room for family growth. Future sleeping needs often vary based on family dynamics, such as starting a new family, downsizing as children grow up and move out, moving parents into the home, or taking care of aging relatives.


  • Flexible Spaces
    To determine how many bedrooms you need, you should also consider the requirements for flexible spaces in your home. Flexible spaces are rooms that can accommodate various activities when necessary. For example, an extra bedroom in the house can be turned into a guest room, an office, a sewing room, or an art studio as family needs change. When purchasing a new home, it's a good idea to have an extra bedroom that does not have a fixed purchase when you move in. Flexible spaces make lifestyle changes less complicated and less costly.


  • Overnight Guests
    If you have a large family who often visits from out-of-town or friends who pop over for an overnight stay, you'll need a guest room in your home. Having an extra bedroom in these situations is a big plus. Although a spare bedroom may get less frequent use, it serves an important purpose when it's needed. When not being used, it can provide extra space for storage or provide a space for relaxing with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. A guest room is a great space for a coat and hat rack, an umbrella stand, and closet storage for extra clothes and linens.


  • Resale Value
    When it comes to resale, professional realtors usually recommend no less than three bedrooms for home buyers. Although there's still some interest in smaller two-bedroom homes, most buyers are looking for three or more bedrooms to accommodate future growth. In many cases, homes with two bedrooms are purchased by investors for a lower price, so they can add more bedrooms and flip the house for a considerable profit.

If you're still not sure about what type of home will best fit your needs, a good real estate agent can help you make the right decision.

February
1

Getting An Appraisal Before Listing: What You Should Know

Understanding the true value of a home is critical for both buyers and sellers. A home appraisal is an important piece of a buyer's mortgage application process and is always required by lenders. However, sometimes sellers are interested in conducting their own home appraisal to determine what a home is actually worth before setting an asking price.

While there are some instances where a seller appraisal is useful (and even necessary), they're not always advantageous. Here are some things to know before seeking a seller appraisal.

Examples of When Sellers Should Consider An Appraisal
A buyer's lender will require an appraisal, so paying for your own can be a waste of time and money in many circumstances. Instead, your agent can use comps (comparable nearby home sales) to help set your sale price. However, there are a few uncommon circumstances when a seller appraisal should be considered:

  • Your home has unique features - Comps are often used as a comparison point when setting an asking price. However, if your home has totally uncommon features, such as a tennis court, solar roof panels, or an indoor pool — an appraisal prior to listing can be helpful.
  • You don't have many neighbors - Since comps are used to determine your sale price, a lack of neighbors can make things challenging. If you live in a remote area, you might want to consider your own appraisal.
  • You're selling a lot of land - If your property is more than a couple of acres, an appraisal might be necessary to determine if the land can support development or can be sold separate from the home.

Why A Seller Appraisal Might Be A Waste Of Time
Unless your home possesses extraordinary or unique features, a seller appraisal might be a waste of time for two reasons:

  • Your buyer's lender won't accept it - If you think a seller's appraisal will speed up the closing process, think again. Lenders generally do not accept seller-sponsored appraisals, so they'll likely do their own anyway.
  • Buyers might not trust it - When a seller appraisal is used to set an asking price, buyers may be less likely to trust it. Buyers may assume the. This could lead to less interest or lowball offers.
  • You might sell too low - What your home is worth and what someone is willing to pay for it are often two separate things. An appraisal only takes into account what your home is worth. On the other hand, comps are a more accurate reflection of what the market is willing to pay. By setting your asking price based on appraisal value alone, you run the risk of undervaluing your home.

Seller appraisals do have a purpose, but for the vast majority of consumers, they're not necessary. Instead, work with your agent to study local comps and determine the best market price for your property.

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