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Date Archives: March 2022

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March
30

When Do You Get Paid For Your Home Sale?

Selling your home is akin to cashing in on your largest investment. If you've paid off your mortgage or built-up a significant amount of home equity, you might be eagerly awaiting that large deposit into your bank account. However, you may want to temper your expectations until after the closing date. Real estate transactions are fairly complicated, and there are many moving parts. Therefore, you most likely won't receive any funds until after loan documents are executed, which typically takes place on or shortly after the closing date. Here is what to expect:

You May Receive An Earnest Deposit
Most offers include an earnest money deposit, which is money provided by the buyer as a sign of good faith and a signal they're committed to following through on the home sale if all contingencies are satisfied. However, the earnest deposit is typically not made available to you until after the closing date, so you won't be able to spend it or deposit it into your account. Rather, it's held in an escrow account and may be returned to the buyer under certain conditions.

The earnest deposit varies depending on the offer but is usually 1% to 5% of the sale price. Once you accept the offer and receive earnest money, you are expected to take the property off of the market and the closing process will begin.

You Can Expect To Receive Payment Around The Closing Date
Real estate transactions typically take 50 to 60 days to finalize, so you'll likely have a waiting period before you receive your funds. The exact date you receive your money actually can vary depending on where you live. Laws and regulations that apply to mortgage closings can vary by state. There are generally two different types of closings:

  • Dry Funding Closings: All paperwork is completed and executed on the closing date, but the documents required to close the loan don't have to be completed at this time. Consequently, mortgage funds aren't immediately disbursed until a few days later. A dry closing purposely slows down the closing process to help eliminate funding issues. Dry funding closings are only available in certain states.
  • Wet Funding Closings: Unlike dry closings, wet funding closings require loan documents are executed on the closing date. Therefore, funds are disbursed to the seller with 1-2 days after the closing date. Most states require wet funding closings.

In either scenario, payment is usually made through a wire transfer into a bank account (usually the faster option) or as a cashier's check.

Selling your home can be an emotional process, and many of us are eager to see the cash return. Just be patient and work with your agent throughout the closing process, and you'll be paid before you know it.

March
29

Questions Sellers Are Afraid To Ask Agents

Selling a home is filled with complexities that can be difficult to navigate, especially when going through the process for the first time. As a seller, you should always remember no question is stupid. Asking as many questions as possible can help you avoid costly mistakes, and your real estate agent is there to help educate you about the process.

To help put clients at ease, here is a quick list of common real estate questions sellers are often too afraid to ask:

  • How Are Real Estate Agents Paid?
    Your real estate agent will do a lot of work upfront to help you sell your home and maximize your sale price. However, real estate agents are not paid upfront or hourly. They also do not receive a salary. A real estate agent is only paid when your home sells, and they receive a percentage of the home sale as a commission.

    Typically, the buyer's agent and the seller's agent both receive 3% of the sale price, and that commission is usually paid by the seller. Many times, real estate agents then split a portion of their commission with their broker as well.

  • Do I Have To Relocate My Pets While My Home Is On The Market?
    Pets come with so much joy, but they can occasionally make the selling process a bit inconvenient. While many people love cats and dogs, some people do not. While relocating your pets may not be feasible, you should make every attempt to eliminate pet odors and put away toys or accessories. You don't want visitors tripping over dog bowls when touring your listing!

  • Do I Need Listing Photos?
    Staging your home and taking listing photos can be a bit inconvenient at times for sellers. It can be difficult to live in a staged home, and keeping things pristine at all times can be a lot of work. However, listing photos are essential for attracting buyers to your property. Most home shoppers browse listings online, so listing photos have never been more important. The manner in which you stage your home combined with your listing photos can have a major impact on your sale price.

  • Can I Leave Something Out Of The Sale?
    While buyers typically don't expect sellers to leave furniture, they do expect buyers to leave most appliances. As a seller, it's your right to exclude anything you'd like from the home sale, but you must disclose what's not included upfront. Your real estate agent will usually add notes to the MLS listing. Just keep in mind excluding major appliances, lighting fixtures, or anything else can negatively impact your listing and sale price.

  • Can I Decorate For The Holidays?
    While agents usually advise clients to keep decorations to a minimum, decorating for the holidays is perfectly acceptable. Just do so tastefully and don't go overboard. Too many lights or decorations can be distracting.

Selling your home can be a fast-paced, complicated process, and you're sure to have tons of questions along the way. Even if something might seem obvious, don't hesitate to double-check with your agent. Your agent's job is to make your home sale as smooth as possible.

March
28

Sellers: How To Make The Right First Impression

You don't have a second chance to make a good first impression, and this couldn't be more true when it comes to selling your home. People often form first impressions within seven seconds of an interaction or experience. First impressions are key to attracting buyers; in fact, many buyers will know within a couple of minutes whether they're going to make an offer or not. As a result, creating a compelling first impression is an essential part of the selling process.

So how exactly do you create a good first impression when selling your home? These tips can help:

  • Start With Your Curb Appeal
    The front of your home is your first chance to make a good impression, as it's the first thing the buyer sees when touring your home. By improving your curb appeal, you can wow buyers as soon as they pull up to your home or enter the driveway. Your facade and landscaping need to be in top condition. Some simple ways to improve your curb appeal include:
    • Painting your front door
    • Power washing your facade
    • Freshen your mulch
    • Plant flowers or shrubs
    • Remove tree branches, leaves, and debris
    • Invest in a new doormat, mailbox, or address numbers
  • Hide Your Pets
    While you may think your cute dog or cat can double as a cute home accessory, some buyers just aren't pet people. Make sure to relocate your pets during house tours and put away any toys or bowls. Also, remove any pet fur or hair from your furniture and be sure to eliminate any pet odors.
  • Depersonalize Your Space
    When touring a home, buyers try to envision their family, pets, furniture, and belongings existing in the space. When your home is filled with too many family photos, knickknacks, or personal color preferences, it becomes harder for the buyer to imagine the space as their own. Put away any personal items and try to keep colors and decor neutral.
  • Clean From Top To Bottom
    When it comes to cleaning, your home should be impeccable. Clean your carpet, scrub your floors, and dust everything you can. You want your home to be as spotless as possible before listing it on the market. If you're not up to the task, you can always consider hiring a cleaning company to do the work for you.
  • Make Repairs
    If your home is showing obvious visual signs that repairs are needed, it's best to take care of them before showing your home. Replace broken doorknobs, check for leaks throughout the house, add caulk to tubs and sinks, and replace light bulbs. Buyers can be very detail orientated, and if something is broken or out of order, it can create a very unappealing first impression.
  • Freshen Up The Space
    Adding simple accessories, such as fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit can go a long way towards freshening up the space. You want buyers to feel welcome when touring the house. If you're holding an open house, you may even want to consider providing light refreshments.
  • Maximize Light
    An important part of making a good first impression is to maximize your home's light exposure. Not only will this make your home appear bright and welcoming, but light also helps spaces look larger. Make sure your blinds and curtains are open, and if any rooms don't receive enough light, try supplementing them with additional lamps or lighting.

When listing your home on the market, be sure to set yourself up for success. It takes many buyers less than 10 or 15 minutes to tour a home, so you only have a short period of time to make a good impression.

March
25

DREAMING AND TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE MARKET
By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

I'd like to start this month's blog by asking you to click on this link and watch this video from Coldwell Banker. While valuable, you don't even have to watch the last 26 seconds where our ad agency promoted features on the coldwellbanker.com web site.

The start of the video, which is the national TV commercial that is running throughout March Madness basketball and elsewhere, talks about how the increase in home prices is allowing so many homeowners to take advantage of their increased home equity and move on in the next phase of their lives.

I love the last line of the video. "Your dreams don't have to be just dreams."

We are seeing this play out here with so many of our clients.

Now let's take a deeper dive into how buyer demand and lack of available homes have driven home prices up.

Let's start with buyer demand. There were 388 home sales in Northwest Louisiana in February. This is stunning. Our 5-year average in February, a month where we are normally pretty slow, is 320 homes. And we are even higher than last February when pandemic-related sales grew our total to 365.

Drilling down a bit deeper, we are also seeing that Caddo Parish is leading in sales, up 9% versus last year, while Bossier Parish is down 8%. This is not because Bossier has suddenly become unpopular. Instead, it is a direct reflection that there are not enough homes on the market to meet the demand.

Price Range

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

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

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

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

Total

759 (+2%)

276 (-8%)

457 (+9%)

26 (+8%)

$100,000 & less

143 (+20%)

24 (-27%)

116 (+33%)

3 (0%)

$100,000-$200,000

246 (-16%)

68 (-33%)

169 (-5%)

9 (-31%)

$200,000-$300,000

223 (+18%)

109 (+22%)

108 (+14%)

     6 (+20%)

$300,000-$400,000

87 (-5%)

51 (-7%)

34 (+0%)

2 (-33%)

$400,000-$500,000

33 (+22%)

15 (+25%)

17 (+13%)

1 (+100%)

$500,000-
$600,000

15 (+7%)

     4 (-60%)

7 (+75%)

4 (+400%)

$600,000+

12 (+0%)

5 (+25%)

6 (-25%)

1 (+100%)

This next chart shows that the dramatic shift in sales is occurring in the more expensive price brackets. This is because so many have built up equity in their current home and they used the incredibly low mortgage rates to "move up." At the same time, there have been plenty of renters who saved for a down payment, who could afford a more expensive home because of those ultra-low mortgage rates:

Price Range

February 2022 Sales

February 2018 Sales

Total

388

334

$100,000 & less

62

95

$100,000-$200,000

122

133

$200,000-$300,000

119

70

$300,000-$400,000

50

21

$400,000-$500,000

20

8

$500,000+

15

      7       

We now move on to supply – what we call inventory. We are at an all-time low of only 667 homes on the market. This equates to a 1.3 month supply, another all-time low. A year ago, we were at what I then called a "drastically low" 1.8 months. It was 4.5 months just two years ago. There were 437 new listings that came on the market, but most of these were scooped up extremely quickly. In fact, homes stayed on the market just 16 days in February, six days faster than last February.

To put all of this in perspective, real estate professionals usually refer to 5-6 month supply as being a balanced market. Less than that, we have a seller's market. Above that, it's considered a buyer's market. We are in a major seller's market that creates multiple bids with the seller in the negotiating driver's seat.

This chart shows the lack of supply compared to five years ago. Notice how the month supply has also dropped dramatically, especially in the mid-level price points:

Price Range

February 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

February 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply

Total

667/1.3

2,128/5.5

$100,000 & less

185/3.0

442/4.7

$100,000-$200,000

170/1.0

734/4.8

$200,000-$300,000

124/0.8

462/5.1

$300,000-$400,000

65/1.2

229/8.6

$400,000-$500,000

42/1.6

106/12.5

$500,000+ 

81/4.4

145/20.5

Thus, the rise in prices.

The median price – the middle of all 388 homes sold in February – was $205,000, while the average was $225,573, up 6% and 5% respectively. Looking at median prices as a guide, here is a striking note – if you bought your home in March of 2019, your home's value may have increased by $53,884.

This increase leads to greater home equity – the value of your home minus what you currently owe on your mortgage.

Greater equity is leading so many homeowners to live their dream!

Our agents are doing an incredible job in explaining to their sellers and buyers what is happening in the housing market. It is a stressful time on both sides. Here is why:

  • Sellers need to identify where they want to move and ensure that their next potential home is available. Our agents are connecting them with agents in their next community to assist them.
  • Sellers then have to be prepared for the fast-pace of the sale. If they get multiple bids, they will eventually have to choose who they want to sell to. Our agents handle the negotiations and help the seller understand the complexities of each offer.
  • Our agents also work with their seller to create "contingencies" that often state when the sale will become final predicated on when the seller can leave and move into their next home.
  • Buyers are stressed because they have to move very quickly. They don't have as many choices as in previous years. Their agent may have to have the buyer make a quick decision and offer.
  • Buyers are also facing rejection. They may not win a bidding war and many are frustrated that they have the down payment funds and want to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, but they can't buy the home they want.

I want to take a moment to salute our agents. They are working so hard and navigating the tightest real estate market we have ever seen. Their training and ability to work closely with our support staff is allowing them to rise to the top. They know what to do. They know how to do it. And because they have so much power behind them, they are able to focus on their client's needs exceptionally well.

If you are ready to dream, please reach out to one of our 150+ agents who can help. Or, feel free to reach out to me at bgosslee@cbgosslee.com.

 

 

March
25

Louisiana has a very rich history, one of the many reasons why Shreveport homes for sale have always been popular. Much of that history is reflected in its museums, so our real estate agents have taken the time to put together a quick list of our favorite ones in and around the city.

  • Louisiana State Exhibit Museum - 3015 Greenwood Rd., Shreveport, LA 71109
    If you want some insight into the state's rich history, then the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum is a wonderful place to start. Not only will you find a large collection of Native American artifacts and original works by local artists, but this museum is also home to more than 20 amazingly detailed dioramas. These dioramas will take you back in time so that you can see what life was like in 1940s Louisiana.

  • Sci-Port Discovery Museum - 820 Clyde Fant Pkwy., Shreveport, LA 71101
    The Sci-Port Discovery Museum is the perfect place to take the kiddos for a day of fun and education. Families come from miles around to give their children a taste of space technology and exploration. You'll be immersed in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while enjoying a planetarium, spacewalk, and even several animal enclosures. This museum will keep your family entertained while teaching your kids about the amazing world around us.

  • Shreveport Railroad Museum - 142 N. Common St., Shreveport, LA 71101
    Even if you don't share Sheldon Cooper's huge obsession with trains, the Shreveport Railroad Museum will definitely pique your interest. This quirky little museum will take you through the vast history of locomotives and how these wonders of technology were utilized to advance not only the state of Louisiana, but the entire country. It's located on the same property as the Water Works Museum, which didn't quite make our cut (honorable mention, we'd say) but is definitely worthy of checking out while you're there.

  • R.W. Norton Art Gallery - 4747 Creswell Ave., Shreveport, LA 71106
    The R.W. Norton Art Gallery may just be the most eclectic attraction in all of Shreveport and the surrounding areas. There are more than 400 pieces of artwork from well-known American artists ranging from Mary Cassatt to Frederic Remington, in addition to an antique doll collection, gun collection, and others. Throughout the year, you can enjoy special exhibitions such as a Mardi Gras celebration, music exploration, and what's known as the "Baby Trek" where parents are invited to bring their infants on a customized tour.

  • Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum - 3386 US-80, Haughton, LA 71037
    Known to many for its stuffed animals (taxidermy, not toys), the Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum also features a civil war exhibit, local Native American exhibits, and several other important highlights. For most visitors, the animals will be the biggest part of the museum, and that's one reason why this has become one of the great American roadside attractions. And if you're an art lover who's looking for Haughton homes for sale, there are plenty of exhibits painted by professional artists.

  • Meadows Museum of Art - 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport, LA 71104
    The Meadows Museum of Art may be small, but it's home to a whopping 1,600 works of art, with a focus on the Indochina collection by French artist Jean Despujols. The museum is located at Centenary College, dedicated to creating original and diversified visual art programming opportunities. Here, you'll find a rotating contemporary art exhibition that showcases regional, national, and international voices in the art world.

Coldwell Banker Gosslee knows all the greatest hotspots in Shreveport and beyond. If you want to make this amazing area of Louisiana your new home, contact us today.

March
23

Open House Tips for Buyers and Sellers

An open house is a tried and true way to attract potential buyers and create buzz when your house goes on the market. So how do you make sure your open house goes smoothly and gets the job done? Consider the following insider tips and tricks to help ensure you have a successful open house.

Out with the old. It might sound a little harsh, but you're going to want to remove about half of your belongings. The goal is to sell your house, so any unnecessary clutter is really just getting in the way of that. This might mean storing away all those sentimental vacation knickknacks, framed family portraits, toddler toys and bulky furniture. Buyers want to see fresh, clean open spaces. They need to imagine their things there, not yours. If storage is an issue, look into a nearby short-term storage facility to help move things out during this time.

What's on the outside counts. In this instance, what's on the outside matters. First impressions are huge, so make sure your lawn is cut, trees trimmed, toys and garbage cans … are all stored away. Think about planting some pretty flowers or adding a few big flowerpots and a welcome mat by the door. This would also be a good time to power wash the outside and clean the windows. Also, replace any outdated light fixtures and consider painting your front door a welcoming color.

Shine up your kitchen and baths. Get them as sparkly clean as possiblewe're talking cleaning every square inch. Focus your attention on decluttering these spaces. Buyers want to see your counter tops, your backsplash, your shiny appliances – not your blender, toaster and junk mail. It's also smart to clean out your pantry and refrigerator because, let's be honest, people do like to snoop around.

Always take a final lap. Look at your house objectively, through the eyes of a buyer. Make sure you've depersonalized every room. That means dog beds, little Jimmy's 3rd grade artwork, closets stuffed with old clothes, toothbrushes on the bathroom counter … And then look at rooms that could use a little more sprucing up. There are a few simple and cost-effective ways you can make a room look brand new. Invest in a couple new throw pillows on your bed and sofa, a new entryway rug, a neutral-colored shower curtain and a bouquet of fresh flowers. Always make sure your home smells good. There's nothing that turns a buyer off faster than a stuffy, smelly house.

Holding an open  house is a great way to gauge buyers' interest in a property and quickly assess whether the asking price is appropriate. And preparing for an open house really comes down to two things: cleaning and decluttering. With these tips, you're well own your way to your next real estate adventure.

 

March
22

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

To view or download the full report click here.

February Summary:  Sales demand remains high.  Average price up.  Inventory at all-time record low.

Sales:  Strong demand continued in February, posting the highest sales activity we've seen since February 2007 (which was the peak of the market before the crash of 2008).  There were 388 sales this February versus 365 last year. To give this some context, the 5 year average for February is only 320.  Year to date, we are slightly ahead of last year (up +2%) which was a record at the time. These results differ though when you drill down on each parish. Sales in Caddo are up +9% versus last year while Bossier parish is currently down –8%.  Desoto parish is up +8% versus last year but that is really only 2 additional sales.  Bossier's recent slow down is similar to what Desoto experienced last year where there were not enough available listings we able to meet demand.  While new listings are coming on-line every day, we need the new listing rate to increase or we will begin to see a slow down in closings because would-be buyers won't be able to find what they are looking for.   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 up to the low 900's where it hovered for the last few months of 2021. It has now dropped again to a record level of 667 which is officially an all-time low.  With 388 homes sold in February and only 667 currently on the market, the Monthly Supply (using the 12 month trailing average) of homes is now only 1.3 which down from 1.5 last month and officially an all-time low. This is incredibly low for the Shreveport-Bossier market.  Just 12 months ago, the monthly supply was 1.8, and two years ago it was 4.5. There were 437 new listings that came on the market in February in all price ranges but the majority were put under contract shortly after hitting the market.  There are currently 626 properties in pending sale status.  This is up from 618 last month.   

PricesWith the continued low inventory and strong sales demand, we continue to see prices rise.  The average price this February was $225,573 versus $201,626 last month and $214,150 last year.   Year to date, the average price is $214,089 versus 213,813 last year.  On a price per square foot basis, average prices so far this year are $107.87/ft versus $104.73/ft last year. 

February 2022 Comparative Market Statistics
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, Desoto Parishes Only)
 
 
February 2022 Absorption Rates
Shreveport/Bossier, LA – (Caddo, Bossier, & Desoto Parishes Only)

The following figures are through the month of February 2022

Currently, there are 667 total homes for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 502 homes have sold per month on average.
That's a 1.3 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 437 homes came on the market.

Currently there are 185 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 2.5 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 71 homes came on the market in this price range.

Currently there are 170 homes priced between $100,000 and $199,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 177 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 140 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 124 homes priced between $200,000 and $299,999 for sale in Shreveport/Bossier.
Over the last 12 months, 149 homes have sold per month on average in this price range.
That's a 0.8 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 121 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 65 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 1.2 month supply of homes if no more homes come on the market.
Last month 42 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, 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 31 homes came on the market in this price range.
 
Currently there are 81 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 4.4 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 3/9/2022
Author: Brad Gosslee of Coldwell Banker Gosslee
Information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.
March
22

5 Ways To Spring Into Cleaning

It's that time again! Spring has arrived and so has the need to freshen things up a bit. Whether you're planning a total home makeover, or you just want to declutter, organize and refresh some spaces, we've got a few ways to get you started.

Before you spring into action, make sure you have the right cleaning products. There are a ton of eco-friendly, non-toxic options and it's worth a little extra research to find the right ones.

Clean in chunks. Spring cleaning can feel overwhelming. Start by making a list of everything you want to get done and then break it down in 30-minute chunks. Need to dust, vacuum, sweep and mop? You don't have to do it all in one day. Start with dusting first and see how far you get. Think floorboards, celling fans, corner walls and windowsills. That alone will help freshen everything up.

Hit the washing machine. There's nothing better than fresh, clean linens. Take some time to clean stains before you throw them in the wash. You could also add a few drops of your favorite essential oils, so they smell even better. If weather permits, hang them outside for the most eco-friendly way to dry your linens. And, while your linens are washing, you can go back to some of that sweeping and mopping.

Focus on the bathroomWhen the last time you disinfected your shower head? Showers and shower heads are magnets for mold and bacteria so make sure and use an antibacterial and anti-mold solution for those areas. When it comes to the sink, tub and toilet, there's nothing a hefty scrub brush can't take care of. And don't forget to use it on the grout, you'll be amazed at how great it looks afterwards.

Got carpets? Spring is the best time to deep clean those dirt-filled carpets and rugs. If you're more of a DIYer, you can run up to your nearest hardware store and rent a cleaning machine (this will cost less, too). Or you can find a reputable carpet cleaning company and let them take care of it. Either way, your house will smell and look a million times better with freshly cleaned carpets!

Sparkling windows for the win. Windows both inside and out tend to get very grimy without you even noticing. Power cleaning them is probably one of the most satisfying things you can do. Use a streak-free window cleaner and a microfiber towel to quickly wash away all that seasonal build up. You might also want to clean your blinds along the way, as they tend to accumulate a lot of dirt as well. You reward? A beautiful, clear view to the outside.

Finally, if it's warm enough, don't forget to open up all the doors and windows and let that fresh spring air circle through. There's really nothing better than a sparkly clean home to enjoy on a gorgeous spring day.

 

March
21

5 Fixes to Sell Your Home Fast

When it comes to selling your home, remember there are more savvy buyers out there than ever before. Many insist on a home inspection, and most mortgage lenders won't go forward with a financing package until there's an inspector's report on file. No house is perfect, but the right repairs today can make tomorrow's home maintenance look a lot more manageable. That helps you sell much faster.

Usually, the winning strategy is to go after the biggest problems before selling your home. Those include roof repair, heating and cooling system performance, wiring issues, and sewage or septic system problems. But what if those things are in great shape? If you have any leftover home repair budget, you can invest it in targeted projects. These won't take long, but they can impress prospective buyers and give you negotiating power for the asking price you really want.

Let's review five of the best fast fixes before selling your home:

  1. Lay New Flooring
    Flooring can transform a room's appearance, with lighter flooring tending to make a space look bigger – especially when paired with plenty of natural light. If any of your floors are looking tired, consider laying new laminate flooring. Laminate comes in various colors and styles, is cost-effective per square foot, and is easy to lay yourself. This weekend DIY project can make a big difference in how new your interiors seem.
  2. Update (and Simplify) Your Landscaping
    In spring and summer, mulch serves as a powerful secret weapon to make your yard more appealing. Heaped around your trees and shrubs and in your planting beds, it encourages healthy growth while allowing you to water a little less. This is a good opportunity to simplify, too: Buyers don't want to be dazzled by all the hard work they'll need to do, so consider taking down water features and any time-intensive touches.
  3. Give Your Kitchen Cabinets a Makeover
    No time or funds for a huge kitchen renovation? You don't need to upgrade your entire kitchen when selling your home. Updated kitchen cabinets are a wonderful way to grab attention without spending too much. Instead of buying all new cabinets, consider removing the hardware and doors and cleaning everything thoroughly. 
  4. Replace Your Bathroom Fixtures
    It may only cost a few hundred dollars to replace bathroom fixtures and hardware, such as your sink's faucet and handles, but the impact it has when walking into a room is worth it. Be thorough: Don't forget about the handles on your bathroom cabinets, tub fixtures, and your showerhead. 
  5. Put Up a Fresh Coat of Exterior Paint
    Other than your roof, exterior paint makes the biggest splash in curb appeal. Now is the ideal time to align your exterior with the most popular colors in your neighborhood, so your home looks fresh and tidy. For an added touch of class, paint your door in a complementary color – or replace it with a sturdier one.

As you get ready for selling your home, it's important to balance your investment with expected returns in the form of a higher asking price and a faster time to closing. An experienced local real estate agent can help you take advantage of the most valuable trends.

March
18

Louisiana's crispy, slightly chewy, and all-around delicious beignets are a staple of our state's cuisine.  

Many of Shreveport's top restaurants carry these treats, but where can you find the best ones? Our real estate agents have some ideas. Here is their list of the best places to grab an order of beignets around the city. 

  • Marilynn's Place - 4041 Fern Ave., Shreveport, LA 71105 
    Named for the owner's beloved mother, Marilynn's Place is one of Shreveport's most popular casual restaurants. 

    Their beignets and coffee are considered local treasures and are available all day. Patrons are encouraged to sit awhile and enjoy their treats, and the restaurant often hosts some form of live entertainment to add to the dining experience. Depending on the day, you might catch some live music, local events, or even the Krewe of Highland Parade that passes by every Mardi Gras. 

  • Ralph's Place - 1173 Louisiana Ave., Shreveport, LA 71101 
    Ralph's Place may not look like much, but don't let its modest exterior deceive you. Inside, you'll find some of the best takeaway food you can get inside the city limits—especially if you're looking for breakfast fare.  
    In addition to classic sugar-topped beignets served with cane syrup, this shop also serves a savory version of the pastries called breakfast beignets. Stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese, these small fried pockets offer a completely different twist on the treats you know and love. Both versions are available all day: Try them with a cup of Rhino coffee on the side for a quick pick-me-up whenever you need the boost.

  • Crawdaddy's Kitchen - 9370 Mansfield Rd., Shreveport, LA 71118 
    With their bright red crawfish mascot welcoming you from both the walls and roof of the restaurant, Crawdaddy's Kitchen is a hard spot to miss. This restaurant is extremely proud of their reputation for being one of the best restaurants in the state for Cajun seafood.  

    If you're not too full from all the world-class fried oysters, shrimp, and crawfish tails they serve, you can indulge in a plate of five golden sugar-dusted beignets for dessert. These treats are a local favorite that many claim are among the best in all of Louisiana. 

  • LarryP's Boiling Pot - 420 W. Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport, LA 71106 
    LarryP's Boiling Pot began several years ago as an extremely popular food truck in the area around our Shreveport homes for sale. In response to ever-growing demand, they opened their new permanent location in early 2022.  

    Once you've had your fill of shrimp, crawfish, and other delectable Louisiana seafood dishes, you can finish your meal with some fresh beignets straight out of the fryer. Served warm and with plenty of sugar dust, they're the perfect light dessert to cap off an excellent experience.  

  • Windrush Grill - 1023 Provenance Place Blvd., Shreveport, LA 71106 
    If you prefer to eat your pastries in a more serene space, you're in luck at Windrush Grill. Pretty patios and columned entrance welcome guests for delicious Southern-style meals like steak, chicken, pasta, sandwiches, seafood, and of course, beignets.  

    Their pillowy beignets are exclusively available as part of their brunch menu, served alongside delicate favorites like Belgian waffles and eggs Benedict, as well as heartier fare like steak and eggs. Pair them with some fruit and eggs or eat them on their own—we won't judge.  

Hungry for more? Move into one of our Shreveport homes for sale, and you can enjoy these beignets as often as you like. Contact us today and let us help you make it happen.  

March
16

Six tips to minimize the stress of buying a home.

Buying a home--whether it's your first home or fiftieth--can make you want to scream. Two-story or ranch ... open houses ... budgets. So much to do and so many choices. What's a home buyer to do?

You're more than likely making the biggest financial decision of your life. It's natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed until everything falls into place.

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to alleviate the stress and keep your focus on the main goal-- buying your dream home.

Here are six steps to ease home buying stress: 

  1. Set House Hunting Goals
    Finding the right home for you will be much easier when you have a clear picture of the type of home you're looking for. Decide what is important to you. List out your basic requirements for a home like the numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, yard, neighborhoods, school districts and anything else that will factor into your final decision.


  2. Understand Your Budget
    Understanding your finances is an important part of buying a home. Without loan pre-approval and realistic budgets, you may lose out on your dream home. Before you start your home search, get pre-approved for your loan, secure the cash for your down payment and educate yourself to understand the whole financial picture of buying a home.


  3. Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage
    All home buyers should strongly consider obtaining mortgage pre-approval when diving into the real estate market. Mortgage pre-approval will significantly reduce the stress of buying a house, because it means you won't have to worry about financing once you find the right match. Home sellers prefer buyers who are pre-approved because it shows that you are a serious shopper from the start.


  4. Don't Take It Personally
    Sellers are looking for the best offer, and at times, yours will not be it. Sometimes, sellers just are not ready to sell even if an offer is perfect. Look at rejection as an opportunity to find something even better. You never know what house is right around the corner.


  5. Have a Timeline
    Buying a home is certainly a process and it starts long before you start negotiating the terms of a sale. In addition to making a list of your desired features for your new home, it helps to set a rough timeline early in the process. Having a general idea of when you want to take each step and how you want to see things progress is a great way to limit stress, even if some steps take longer (or shorter!) than you expect.


  6. Take a Break
    Buying a home can consume you. Make sure you are taking time to do something else every once in a while. Take a break to go workout or have coffee with a friend. When it feels like all you're doing is eating, breathing, and dreaming about new houses, it is probably time to go have a little fun.

Buying your first home can be a wonderful journey with the right plan. Following these steps can help you feel calm and confident when closing day comes.

March
11

3 Simple Design Ideas for a Zen Outdoor Space

The following is a guest post by Suhayl Laher

Amidst lockdowns and times of uncertainty, many of us looked inward to our homes to provide calming and safe spaces, including our outdoor areas.

As a result, many gardens became like a 'fifth room', offering the perfect area for relaxation and spending quality time outdoors – and this trend seems to be here to stay.

That's why, in today's post, we're going to be sharing tips on how to create a zen outdoor space, however you like to relax.

So, whether your idea of unwinding is soaking up the sun, chilling with pals on warm summer evenings or pottering, planting and pruning, we have garden design ideas to suit everyone.

1. The wild and whimsical

Relax to the sounds of wildlife with a wild and whimsical garden design that allows nature to be the star of the show.

The key to a successful wild garden is to accept the imperfections that come with natural habitats, seeing them as beautiful traits. This means letting things grow their own way, simply pruning them back from time to time to keep paths clear and to help promote regrowth.

For flower beds and planters, opt for a mixture of species to create a striking sea of color – a wildflower seed blend can be an easy option here. Also, embrace longer grass and weeds, as some species can be very pretty.

You may also want to include a water feature like a pond to attract a wider variety of wildlife and boost that sense of serenity.

When it comes to practical additions like furniture and hardscaping materials, opt for a rustic theme with wood and stone elements aplenty to give your wild wonderland a cohesive finish.

2. The simple and serene

If clean lines and a simple design is more your style, there's plenty of scope for carving out a calm and soothing outdoor zone for reading, meditating or socializing.

In large gardens, this may look more like a defined relaxation zone, while smaller backyards may benefit from a full minimalist makeover.

Achieving your pared-back haven requires a carefully curated balance of texture, decoration and color. To start, lay a solid and versatile foundation with a grounding neutral color palette.

Durable stone effect outdoor tiles in beige or a pale gray are ideal for floors and walls, bringing both texture and a soothing hue.

Pair with darker wood or metal to create crisp color and texture contrasts for furniture and structural elements like a pergola or trellis.

When it comes to plants, avoid fussy florals and instead use big, bold leafy species. Ideally, you want a mixture of fauna and green shades here to help boost your mood.

For decorative touches, a simple water feature is a must. Set amidst a blend of soft-touch fabrics for furnishings and a few modern ornaments, you'll have all the ingredients for the perfect serene sanctuary outside.

3. The practical and sustainable

With evidence to suggest that the act of gardening itself can help to improve mental and physical health, zen outdoor spaces aren't just about creating relaxing seated areas.

Having a practical and sustainable outdoor space where you can grow your own can provide the perfect escape and a chance to practice mindfulness.

Creating a practical and sustainable garden doesn't always need lots of room – even modest spaces can yield a decent crop with the right design and plants that utilize vertical space.

To keep maintenance low and optimize the functionality of your outdoor space, opt for raised flower beds that make it easier to weed and pick your produce.

If you like to keep things orderly, plant vegetables and fruits in groups. For instance, keep root vegetables like carrots, beetroots and potatoes together, while other species like lettuces, herbs and edible flowers can go in another area.

Also, make sure sprawling plants like pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes and cucumbers have plenty of space to grow, as well as vertical support to keep them from taking up too much ground space.

You can also make better use of space and make crops easier to pick for things like peas, beans, raspberries and blackberries by using growing frames along walls.

Whatever you choose to grow outdoors, you can help to promote sustainability and keep the zen vibes going by using organic, eco-friendly materials, pesticides and fertilizers.

With these ideas and practical tips, we hope you find all the inspiration you need to give your outdoor areas a zen makeover this spring. Whether you prefer to soak up the sun with a good book or get your hands dirty planting, there are plenty of ways to create your very own outdoor haven.

 

Author bio:

Suhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK's largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

March
9

MYTH: "It's a seller's market so I don't have to stage my home."

TRUTH: Although sellers might have the advantage right now with low inventory and high demand, you still have to get your home ready for market.

Here are the five biggest turn-offs to buyers (and how to avoid them!):

Poor photography.
We live in a digital world and your first showings happen before anyone even sets foot in your home. Professional photography is a non-negotiable if you want to attract the right kind of buyers and generate demand for your home.

Overpricing for the market.
Even if you think a buyer will pay $50k over asking (and anything is possible!), pricing your home at market value is going to expose it to the widest pool of buyers. Setting a competitive price may even result in multiple offers, driving up the sale price.

Weird smells.
One of the first things a buyer will notice when they step into your home is the way it smells. Although we do like a scented candle for ambiance, they can only hide so much! Keep windows open to let fresh air in and be sure to clean and take out the garbage regularly while your house is on the market.

Too much clutter.
We know you've heard this one before, but here's our tip: make your closets and cabinets look more spacious by taking half of everything inside them and pre-packing or putting them in storage. Your home will look roomier and buyers will be willing to pay more for all that space.

Deferred maintenance
Now is not the time to scrimp at Home Depot. Squeaky door knobs, ripped window screens and other seemingly minor issues give the buyer an impression that you don't take care of your property. For older homes, swe ometimes recommend a pre-inspection to identify any issues that my arise during the course of your home sale.

Questions about what to do and how to prep before you go to market? We are always here to help you!
Bossier City Office 318-747-5411
Shreveport Office 318-861-2461
March
9

Sellers: Prioritize These Kitchen Improvements

A bigger and brighter kitchen is always on the list of top home features buyers are willing to move for. For those who love to cook and entertain guests, a nice kitchen is a must-have. As a seller, this means investing a little time and effort into sprucing up your kitchen can be well worth the time and energy.

Because the kitchen is such an important selling feature, we often recommend our clients invest in some upgrades and repairs before listing. While a full remodel may not make sense financially, here are some upgrades you might want to consider this year:

  • Enhance Your Lighting
    Everybody wants a bright kitchen, so if you're lighting fixtures aren't getting the job done, it might be time for an upgrade. Consider adding new fixtures over your kitchen table, island, or sink. We also love the look of dimmable under cabinet lighting. You can also line your backsplash with string lights to create a nice look.

  • Update Your Countertops
    If your countertops are in poor condition or have an unflattering color, upgrading them can be well worth the investment. While traditional granite countertops have been popular for decades, buyers prefer quartz these days. Not only are quartz countertops nice and sturdy, but they come in a wide range of colors and designs.

  • Upgrade Your Appliances
    New appliances can be a big investment, but you can see a nice ROI. Buyers are immediately drawn to brand new stainless steel appliances. If your refrigerator or dishwasher are dated or in bad shape, an upgrade can do you good and wow your buyers at the same time.

  • Add Or Replace Your Backsplash
    It doesn't take long for kitchen backsplashes to become dirty and dated, and don't underestimate the power of a makeover. The great thing about backsplashes is you can install a wide range of colors or patterns. Of course, classic white subway tile always works well too.

  • Refresh Your Cabinets
    Brand new cabinets can come with a hefty price tag, so if you're not feeling this upgrade, there are easier and less expensive ways to refresh your cabinets. Adding a new coat of paint is the easiest and fastest way to give them a fresh look. You can also replace any doorknobs or drawer pulls.

  • Stage The Room
    Once you've completed your kitchen upgrades, take some time to stage the room. You can really make your kitchen appear larger by putting away countertop appliances and getting rid of clutter. Open up your blinds or window treatments to maximize natural light and remove any personal items (including photos and magnets from the refrigerator). Sometimes keeping things simple is the best way to stage a room.

The kitchen is often considered one of the most important rooms of the house when it comes to selling a home. It serves as a gathering place where food is prepared and guests are entertained. Looking at your kitchen through the eyes of a potential buyer will definitely help your home sale.

March
7

5 Signs It's The Right Time To Sell Your Home

Determining the perfect time to sell your home is never easy, but when the universe aligns, selling at just the right time can ultimately influence the speed of your home sale as well as the sale price. However, defining the right time ultimately comes down to numerous economic and personal factors. The housing market fluctuates over time, and our personal needs evolve throughout our lifetimes. Both are common reasons why the average person stays in a single home for seven to ten years.

If you're wondering if it's the right time to sell your home, here are five signs that could help make your decision:

  • The Market Is Hot
    The state of the housing market often influences a homeowner's decision to sell. For the last couple of years, we've seen the hottest seller's market in decades. Housing inventory has been at an all-time low, which means far more interested buyers than sellers. Your home is worth what somebody will pay for it, and with so many home shoppers on the market, you might be able to earn top dollar. While the state of the market shouldn't be your only deciding factor, it can definitely influence your decision to sell.

  • Your Finances Are Changing
    If you've built up a decent amount of home equity, your home may be your most valuable asset. If your finances change, for example from a career change, then selling your home can provide you with the capital to make life changes more easily.

  • You're Struggling To Keep Up With Maintenance
    Taking care of a home is a big-time commitment. Lawn care, repairs, and ongoing maintenance require a lot of time and energy. As we grow older, housework can become less appealing. If this sounds like your situation, it might be time to sell your home and think about downsizing.

  • Your Home Wouldn't Benefit From Any Major Renovations
    If you've invested significant funding in home renovations, such as a finished basement, a new roof, new flooring, or updated appliances — you might be ready to realize a return and cash in on your investment. If you've maxed out all major updates and renovations and the market is right, you could stand to make a nice profit.

  • You Need More Space
    If your family is outgrowing your current home, it could be a good indication that it's time to sell. Perhaps you have a new baby on the way or will be having a relative move in. A need for additional living and storage is one of the most common reasons homeowners decide to list their property.

Your home is your biggest investment, so it's important to make sure the time to sell is right. The decision to sell ultimately requires one to weigh economic factors with person situations.

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