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Date Archives: April 2022

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Home Buyer Tips | 34 Posts
Home Seller Tips | 47 Posts
Homeowner Tips | 39 Posts
Moving Tips | 3 Posts
Press Release | 4 Posts
Shreveport, LA | 5 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts
April
29

Smart Moving Tips for Homeowners With Pets

You may be ready to start an exciting adventure in a new home, but what about your pets? Some furry family members may find moving to an unfamiliar place stressful, but there are ways to ease them into it with a little advance planning.

Pet-Friendly Properties

Living harmoniously with pets is a top priority for homeowners. The APPA National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association estimates that 70% of all U.S. households – roughly 90.5 million – owns one or more pets. That's a remarkable figure that impacts many aspects of the economy, including residential real estate. People love their pets and today's home buyers are seeking properties that reflect it. For some house hunters, finding a pet-friendly home is as simple as getting a place with a fenced-in yard, hard-surface flooring or space for a litter box. Others, however, are looking for more deluxe amenities for Fido and Fluffy.

The Pampered Pet

Some pet-centric home designs cater to the four-legged family members. Today's popular custom details include under-cabinet food stations, pet washing facilities, and built-in crates, beds or pet suites. Also sought after are high-tech smart-home features like electronic pet doors and remote-access security cameras that let homeowners keep an eye on their pets when they're away.

Park, Park, Park!

Location matters to pet owners. A pet-friendly community is a must, and proximity to an off-leash dog park or long nature trail away from busy streets is a bonus. And while parents of young children often make school districts a priority, some pet parents also seek homes close to their veterinarian, boarding facility and doggy daycare.

This Way Home

Show your pets the lay of the land at the new house. Determine where your pets' toys, bed and water bowl will go, then take them on a home tour to familiarize them with their designated areas. Be sure to examine the home for safety hazards, then let them poke around and discover new scents and favorite spots. Cats may feel more comfortable adjusting to one room at a time, so start them off in a smaller space and let them take their time exploring.

Adjustment periods in a new home are easy when you keep these tips in mind and stick to your pets' regular feeding and walking routines. They should barely notice the move and continue living their usual happy lives in the comfort of your new home.

April
27

Your Guide To Selling A Home In Spring

Spring is typically the busiest season in real estate. If you're thinking about selling your house, then this is truly a can't-miss opportunity. Buyers are hitting the market in force after a winter of hibernation, curb appeal is springing back, and warmer weather makes it easier to finish chores around the home. Now all you need is to get your home — and yourself — ready for the busy season ahead.

  1. Create a To-Do List
    This step is easy to miss while you're busy buzzing around from one project to the next, but it's really worth taking the time to create a to-do list. Order tasks by priority, and be sure to update your list as you add new projects or complete existing ones. Once you have your list, post it in a place where you'll see it often.

  2. Prune Your Shrubbery and Trees
    While you're pruning, consider whether you'd like to add any new landscaping features or outdoor lighting to boost curb appeal.

  3. Declutter Your Home
    Buyers want to be able to picture what their life would be like in your home, so it's a good idea to remove clutter and personal possessions as you prepare for selling your home. A clutter-free home is also much easier to keep clean between showings.

  4. Property Inspection
    Having your home inspected will help you develop a game plan and reveal potential issues which could halt a sale if they go unnoticed. Ask around for referrals, and look for an inspector with a thorough track record.

  5. Meet with Your Agent
    The real estate market never truly sleeps, and your real estate agent is always hard at work. Schedule a time to talk strategy and get answers to your questions before the busy season begins.

  6. Home Improvements
    This is a great time to tackle minor home improvement projects like painting, power-washing outdoor surfaces, or refreshing your flooring. Every little improvement makes a difference, but you'll probably want to save the big remodeling projects for your next home.

  7. Prepare Yourself
    Selling your home takes a lot of time and energy, so it's a good idea to get yourself ready for the selling season. Develop a plan, coordinate with other household members, and maybe even set aside a bit of time for relaxation before showings and open houses begin.

With the right preparations in place, you'll be ready to hit the ground running during the busiest months of the real estate calendar. Selling your house is much easier when you take the time to plan, prepare and put your strategy into action. The right real estate agent and willingness to research on your own are the key ingredients to simplify selling your house this spring.

April
26

WE ARE TIGHTER THAN THE NATION
By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

Let's get right to it. The housing market in Northwest Louisiana is tougher than what we are seeing across the nation.

The National Association of Realtors just came out with its Existing Home Sales Report looking at March sales and I found it striking how much tighter our market was. But before you think it is all gloom and doom, as we go on in this blog, there are some potentially promising signs.

Looking at the below chart, we are down in numerous categories compared to the overall U.S.:

  • Sales
  • Inventory (number of homes on the market)
  • Month supply
  • Median days on market which shows how fast homes are selling. In fact, our homes are selling almost 100% faster than in the rest of the nation.

 

U.S.

(change over March '21)

Northwest LA

(change over March '21)

Median Price

$375,300/-4.6%

$193,345/-1%

Number of Sales

5.77 million/-7.1%
(annualized)

491/-8%

Inventory

950,000/-9.5%

688/-11%

Months Supply

2.0/2.1

1.4/1.8

Median Days on Market

17/18

9/43

 

On the flip side, it is important to notice that our affordability levels are a HUGE positive. Our median priced home (the middle of all sales) was a whopping $181,955 less than the national price. Also, while our prices have appreciated from about $158,000 in March of 2019 to today's $193,345, we are seeing the pace of price increases slow.

We ended 2021 up 8% for the year to an overall median price of $198,950. This was another anomaly as traditionally I call our market "Steady Eddie" since we don't normally see huge annual increases. So far this year, prices are flat over this time last year.

Also, while most of 2020, and all of 2021, saw sales greatly influenced by historically-low mortgage rates, the work-from-home phenomenon and other pandemic-fueled sales, we may – I say "may" because none of us has a crystal ball – slowly begin to see a more normalized housing market.

But this can only occur if – and only if – we start to see more homes come on the market. While this will likely not happen overnight, here is what could start to happen:

  • If mortgage rates do continue to creep up into the mid/high 4% and low 5% levels, that may pull some potential buyers out of the market or they would be forced to only consider lower priced homes. Remember our price gains have already made it harder for first-time buyers to get into homeownership.
  • Fewer buyers would create more balance in the supply vs. demand equation and limit the number the number of multiple bids.
  • Homes would potentially stay on the market longer with prices leveling off.
  • If prices stabilize, this might allow potential sellers to recognize we've reached the "top of the market" and those interested might act.
  • More homes would then come on the market allowing us to begin returning to a more traditional market.

But we are definitely not there yet. Our demand is still really strong and inventory levels really low.

Sales is a great reflection of demand. While we are down 2% in sales over last year, remember this is off a record pace last year. Consider that since March 2018, just four years ago, we are:

  • We are up 29% in total sales
  • We approximately doubled the sales figures in the mid-level ranges
  • The $400,000+ luxury market is up 311% in sales

Price Range

March 2022 Sales

March 2018 Sales

Total

490

379

$100,000 & less

81

103

$100,000-$200,000

176

166

$200,000-$300,000

149

76

$300,000-$400,000

47

23

$400,000-$500,000

23

7

$500,000+

14

            2       

 

I think the major reason for the year-over-year sales slowdown is a reflection of our inventory remaining ridiculously low. Last February was our lowest inventory level ever with only 667 homes on the market. Today we are at only 688. This equates to a major seller's market with a paltry 1.4 month supply, far below the 5-6 month range we need for a balanced market where neither buyer nor seller has a negotiation advantage.

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

March 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

March 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply

Total

688/1.4

2,222/5.5

$100,000 & less

181/2.4

456/4.7

$100,000-$200,000

168/1.0

745/4.8

$200,000-$300,000

127/0.9

495/5.6

$300,000-$400,000

64/1.2

263/9.5

$400,000-$500,000

51/1.9

116/13.7

$500,000+

93/5.1

145/21

 

If you are looking for a positive sign of a more stabilized market, you'd look at our most expensive homes where the month supply, which had come down dramatically from the 20-month level prior to the pandemic, has leveled off in the 5-month range for a while.

The impact of the inventory challenge is really noticeable in the $300,000-$400,000 range where only 64 homes were available. This sector has been fueled by move up buyers who took advantage of their equity and historically-low mortgage rates to buy larger and more expensive homes. We are down in this price range 12% across the region, 17% in Caddo Parish and 10% in Bossier Parish.

Price Range

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

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

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

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

Total

1,252 (-2%)

466 (-7%)

744 (+1%)

42 (0%)

$100,000 & less

224 (+14%)

50 (+9%)

169 (+16%)

5 (0%)

$100,000-$200,000

425 (-14%)

128 (-23%)

282 (-8%)

15 (-29%)

$200,000-$300,000

372 (+8%)

165 (+2%)

198 (+14%)

     9 (+0%)

$300,000-$400,000

134 (-12%)

79 (-10%)

50 (-17%)

5 (0%)

$400,000-$500,000

56 (+14%)

30 (+58%)

23 (-18%)

3 (+100%)

$500,000-
$600,000

24 (+4%)

     8 (-38%)

12 (+20%)

4 (+400%)

$600,000+

17 (-11%)

6 (0%)

10 (-23%)

1 (+100%)

 

I am so proud of our agents. Coldwell Banker Gosslee has led the local real estate industry for 29-straight years. We really believe that full-time agents deserve full-time support. And today's market certainly demands full-time agents who have proper, non-stop training who can be in constant communications with their clients.

Our behind-the-scenes team are unsung heroes. They work closely with our agents to assist them in attracting buyers, marketing your home and handling back-end details, which allows our agents to attend training classes, network with others and work closely with you.

While none of us has been through a market quite like this, we have been in business since 1960 and have amassed great knowledge and experiences. Both buyers and sellers NEED that today.

I want to re-iterate what I wrote last month:

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.

To those who are considering selling your home, I would encourage you to have a conversation with one of our agents. They can help you understand market conditions, give you a look at what your home is worth, help you meet with an agent where you are considering moving to (if it is out of town), and answer any questions you have.

Of course, you should feel free to reach out to me at bgosslee@cbgosslee.com.

See you next month!

April
22

Earth Day is on April 22, and there are so many ways to join the movement including these 52 tips to invest in our planet. Looking to celebrate and help at the same time? Here are five tips that you can try from the comfort of your own home.

Reuse and repeat. Plastic bags and single-use bottles often end up in landfills or in our oceans, rivers and lakes. Reusable bags and bottles offer a stylish and eco-friendly alternative that you can easily refill and reuse. Find the perfect spot to store them in your home or car, so you can take both on the go to grocery stores, running errands and to your kids' soccer games.

Hit the great outdoors. With so many distractions today, it can be hard to find time to get outside. Earth Day is simple reminder of just how beautiful our planet is. Spend an afternoon on your backyard patio with friends or family, take a long walk around the neighborhood or visit a local hiking trail — you can even register to be a part of the Great Global Cleanup in your community.

Try an organic garden. It feels good to be self-sufficient. While we can't always be that way, a little starter garden doesn't take up too much space. You can even have a portable garden on your porch or balcony. And with pollinator gardens, the kiddos can see how bees and other pollinator populations are crucial to our habitat.

Plant a tree or twoDid you know trees can reduce a household's energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 25%? By adding a small tree to your local neighborhood's tree canopy, you can help save money and provide a vital wildlife habitat for years to come. Studies have shown that trees are great for our stress levels and mental health, too. So, plant one!

Window shop instead. Shopping secondhand or simply reducing your purchase volume is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. When it comes to home décor shopping, it's easy to fill up on new and mass-produced items that often end up in a landfill when you tire of them.  This year, discover something new that's old while at consignment shops or vintage outdoor markets.

However you choose to celebrate Earth Day this year, try it at home with friends and family. Spending time with loved ones can remind us just how lucky we are. And treating the planet like your home is a great way to give back.

April
20

5 Budgeting Tips When Saving for a Down Payment

Buying a home is a big financial decision and making your new home a reality means you'll need some money for a down payment. Homeownership is a great goal to have, and once you've figured out how much money you need to save, you can get down to business. As a general guideline, you'll need between 5% and 20% of the purchase price of a home. The actual number will depend on your financial situation, but it's always a good idea to get started as soon as possible. If you happen to end up with extra money, it can be applied to your moving expenses.  Here are some suggestions to get started saving.

  1. Make it automatic. Designate a separate account strictly for your down payment and have your money direct deposited or schedule regular transfers from your main account. For many people, it's much easier to save the money if you never see it in your checking account in the first place.
  2. Pay down or pay off your current debt especially if it's high-interest debt. Credit cards and car loans are two common budget busters that can eat up a sizable chunk of your monthly income. You may be able to refinance a car loan to a lower interest rate, and apply the extra money to the principal to pay it off sooner. Most credit cards assess interest daily, so paying more than the minimum as early in the billing cycle as possible will mean you're being charged less interest, allowing you to pay off that card sooner. After you get rid of the debt, you can put that money toward saving for your down payment.
  3. Cut out unnecessary spending. This includes monthly expenses and discretionary spending too. Eat out less, skip the daily latte, cut your grocery bill, give up the monthly subscription box, or get cheaper internet. You also may want to consider living somewhere less expensive or getting a roommate while you're trying to save for a home.
  4. Earn extra income and save it. You could get overtime at your current job, get a second job, or get a side hustle to earn extra income. You could also sell some of your stuff or something big you can do without, like a second car. Then put that money in the savings account for your down payment.
  5. When you do have to spend money take advantage of deals, coupons, and freebies. If you're going out with friends, go for the mid-week dinner specials. Buy one, get one free deal at your favorite lunch place, free concerts, community events, and game nights in can all help you reach your goal.

Saving up for the down payment on your new home can seem like an enormous task. But the truth is several small steps, and a little effort can make a big difference. You'll be in your new home before you know it.

April
19

Impress Buyers With These Staging Shortcuts

Home staging highlights the best features of your house and makes it more marketable by giving it a clean, organized, and neutral appearance. It also makes your home more appealing to the greatest pool of prospective buyers.

Hiring a professional stager is a good investment because they have the design expertise and time to get the job done right. If you don't have the budget to hire a professional, follow these six home staging tips to get you on your way.

  1. Conquer the Clutter
    The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to declutter. Decluttering helps buyers imagine themselves living in your home. Take a good hard look at what you have and decide for yourself what you can live without. Pack, donate or store those things you can live without for the time being — this includes furniture. When professional stagers prep your home for sale, they often remove a good deal of furniture to make your rooms look bigger.

  2. Make Your Home Sparkling Clean
    A sparkling clean home gives prospective buyers the impression that it has been well-cared-for. Mop and vacuum your floors, dust, and wash windows and baseboards. Don't forget about organizing your cupboards, under your sinks, and in your closets. Assume home buyers will inspect every corner of your home.

  3. Slap on a Fresh Coat of Paint
    Repainting your interior is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to spruce up your home. Choose beige or taupe for living areas and neutral green or blue for bathrooms.

  4. Make Repairs
    Repair squeaky doors, leaking faucets, bathtub caulking with mold, or missing light bulbs. Now is the time to break out the toolbox and repair things you've neglected.

  5. Accessorize
    Decluttering is an important step in staging; however, once your home looks streamlined, add back a few accessories to convey the style of the home you want to project. A few lamps and pictures can create the right vibe.

  6. Boost Curb Appeal
    The way your home looks from the street can put dollars in your pocket and cut the time your home takes to sell. Prospective buyers thinking of touring your home will do a drive-by first to decide whether or not to schedule a showing. Lure in more buyers with some good old-fashioned spit shine and polish along with a splash of color. Power wash siding and walkways, wash windows, plant blooming flowers and greenery, repaint and stain as needed.

Making your home shine is a critical component of a successful sale. If you need more tips, your real estate agent will know how to transform your home so buyers will bite.

April
18

Buying a new home can be a confusing and stressful process especially for first-time buyers.


You may hear all kinds of conflicting advice from friends, neighbors, and relatives. If you do your research, you can get a better understanding of what is actually involved in the home-buying process. Here are the truths about four common home-buying myths:

  1. You need to have perfect credit.
    Many people assume you must have a high credit score in order to secure a mortgage. That simply isn't true. If you have less than perfect credit, lenders are often willing to work with you to get a mortgage. Although it's not the only thing lenders look at when considering you for a loan, your credit score will have an impact on the interest rate, so make sure you review your credit report before applying. If you find any errors, report them to the credit reporting bureaus ASAP. Once they're removed you can apply for your mortgage.

  2. You need 20 percent down.
    One of the most common misconceptions about the home-buying process is that you have to pay 20 percent of the purchase price for the down payment. Since this can be a large chunk of change, many people think owning a home is out of their reach. However, there are many first-time home-buyer programs that allow buyers to put down a lower down payment. For those who qualify for a Federal Housing Administration loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent. FHA loans also feature low closing costs and easy credit qualifying. Active or retired members of the military can apply for a Veterans Administration home loan, which requires no down payment for qualified borrowers.

  3. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is your best option. 
    Many people opt for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage because they offer lower monthly payments than a 15-year fixed-rate loan. If you can afford to pay more on a monthly basis you may want to consider a 15-year mortgage. With the 30-year option, you will most likely end up paying more during the term of the loan. It's also smart to keep an open mind about adjustable-rate mortgages. If you don't plan on staying in your home for the long haul, it could save you money if mortgage rates are low at the time you buy your house.


  4. You don't need a REALTOR®.
    While it may seem like a no-brainer, the home-buying process can be complicated and wrought with pitfalls. Buying a home is probably one of the largest purchases you will make in your life, so you want to do it right. An experienced REALTOR® who knows the ins and outs of the market and the features of a specific real estate area can make the process run more smoothly. Real estate agents often have local connections with other REALTORS®, insurance agents, appraisers and lenders who can help make the home-buying process easier.   Before you know it, you'll be the proud owner of a new home.
April
15

Easy Renovations for Your Laundry Room

One of the best things about being a homeowner is being able to renovate your space. You're not stuck with someone else's ideas about what you need or what looks good. You can improve the functionality of the space, or just opt for something with more personality or style.   

If you've been thinking about undertaking some renovations or upgrades to your home, the laundry room is an excellent place to start. Lots of the solutions you can do for the laundry room are quick and easy fixes. In many homes, the laundry area was built as a very basic space. So giving this room some added functionality and style can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Add some color. This is a good place to start, especially if your laundry area is tucked into the corner of a dark basement. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Other options are bold patterned wallpaper or window treatments.
  • Change the light fixture. Many laundry rooms don't have enough light. And basic builder-grade light fixtures are almost never stylish. Changing out the fixture can make the area more functional and more appealing.
  • Change the look of cabinets. There are a few options for changing the look of your laundry room cabinets. Of course, you could paint them a different color. But if you don't want to do that, you could remove doors so you have exposed shelves and add baskets or bins. You could also swap out the doors for ones that have glass fronts. Changing cabinets to have drawer pulls is yet another option.  
  • Add a folding area. This can be a countertop built over the top of front-loading machines or along another wall. It could also be a table that folds up against a wall. In a very large laundry room, a regular table or an island in the middle of the room is an option as well.
  • Change the flooring. Many laundry rooms have unfinished or concrete slab floors. That situation is uncomfortable under your feet and unpleasant to look at. Or maybe your laundry room floor is just looking a little dated and out of sync with the rest of your home. Floors are one of the biggest surfaces in the room, so an update here can make a big difference.
  • Add more or better storage. If you don't have shelves, cabinets, or cubbies of course you can add them. But there are other ways to add storage too. You can add a fixture to store the ironing board and iron on the back of the laundry room door. A drying rack that folds up against the wall when not in use is another example. Adding baskets or bins and hooks can increase your storage options. A screw-in closet or shower rod can be used to hang clothes on. Making sure everything has a place will keep things looking neat and tidy.
  • Add some artwork. If your laundry room lacks a little personality, a few well-placed pieces of artwork can add some flair. This can be a fun DIY project. Otherwise, there are plenty of inexpensive prints available online. Or you can check out the second-hand store or flea market for something vintage.

Doing a few quick and easy renovations to your laundry area can take it from boring to amazing. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment, and it might make doing the laundry just a little more fun!

April
13

Buying a home is like falling in love. 

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

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

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

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


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


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

    You also want to do some homework on the company that does the home inspection. Ideally, it should be done by an independent company that is not attached to a buying or selling company.
  • What kind of neighbors can you expect to find?
    You can't know what kind of neighbors you will get and you can't control that. However, you can buy into particular neighborhoods and avoid others. Broadly speaking, there are those that have good reputations and that are inhabited by a particular class of people such as the suburbs. Then they are neighborhoods that are known for insecurity that you want to avoid.
  • Are the amenities you need nearby?
    Another check you want to make before committing to buying a house is whether the amenities you need are close by. You want to check that there are good schools nearby and if you have young ones or are planning for them, a good child care facility.
  • How far will you need to commute?
    If you will be commuting to work every day, you don't want a long commute that will make your day even longer. You don't want to have to leave so early in the morning and get home late because of a long commute.
April
12

The Best-Kept Secrets To Selling Your Home

Many sellers rush to put their homes on the market without giving too much thought to what it takes to grab a home buyer's attention. As you consider listing your home, there are a number of "secrets" you can use to take your house from ordinary to extraordinary in the eyes of homebuyers.

Make your home stand out from the competition by following these selling steps.

  1. The Price is Right.
    Your real estate agent will help you determine what similar homes in your community are currently listed for and what similar homes have sold for in the past. Evaluate the features these homes may have over yours and vice versa. Your goal is to get the best price for your home. This means pricing your home right, so it will remain competitive within the local real estate market.

  2. Preparation Is Important.
    Before your house even enters the market, there are a few things you might want to do. While there are a few buyers out there that are looking for a fixer-upper, most buyers would like to purchase a home, move straight in and live comfortably. This means that updating a few things will go a long way in getting buyers to put your home on their shortlist. Make sure your home is in good repair. Replace things that aren't working or need to be updated. A new splash of paint inside and outside will make a house feel, smell, and look clean and new. You want the buyer to leave your home with the best impression they could possibly have.

  3. Curb Appeal.
    To get your home on a buyer's radar, getting them inside your home is your first task. This means making the outside of your home look appealing. The first thing a buyer sees — other than pictures on the internet — is the outside of your home. If the paint is peeling, plants are dead, and the grass is knee-high, it is likely that buyers will keep driving and never see the potential that is inside of your home.

    It doesn't take much effort to make the outside of your home inviting. Stand on your front lawn and think as if you were buying the home. Does the front door need a new coat of paint? Could the landscaping be spruced up with a new layer of mulch? A few little changes and you can make the outside of your home stand out.

  4. Staging.
    Staging your home is one of the important home selling tips. Staging your home is all about bringing the best of your home out and downplaying the parts that may not be so good. The first thing to do when staging is to clear the clutter. If you have big furniture, store it. You want your home to appear as if it is spacious. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in a home, so remove all personal items and trinkets. A buyer may look at two houses that are the exact same size; however, if yours feels more spacious, then yours is the one they will likely choose. Other things to consider are, updating hardware, lighting, kitchen cabinets, and using a neutral color scheme throughout.

A little effort on your part will go a long way to increasing the chances of your home selling quickly. Following these steps can make your home selling process fun and pain-free.

April
11

Going the distance to win your dream home. 

Many buyers who have been waiting to enter the housing market are now jumping into the ring to win their dream home. Motivated by a number of factors from rising interest rates to low housing inventory, a competition has been created among buyers to act quickly when they find a home that fits their needs. 

You can still find your dream home by being prepared, motivated and ready to act. These practical tips will help you beat out the competition and win your dream home in our current seller's market.

The Benefits of a Buyer's Agent

Buyer agency has been around for about 25 years. Prior to the early 1990s, home buyers were all customers and lacked the benefits and protections of being a client. When you have a buyer's agent working for you, they are 100 percent loyal to you. They are not trying to sell you one house over another. They also want to help you get the right home for you at the best possible price.

Do some research on buyer's agents. While you may not have a lot of experience buying real estate, buyer's agents have access to information on all available properties, extensive knowledge of the local market and experience negotiating and writing contracts. Their guidance and advice can be extremely valuable should you find yourself in a multiple offer situation on a home.

Be Knowledgeable, Be Prepared

If you are like most people, buying a house is something you may only do a few times in your life. Those occasions you do buy a home are going to be spaced years apart. Many laws and regulations change. Technology changes how people search for homes, communicate, negotiate their contract and complete the purchase transaction. The good news is that all of these changes are working in your favor as a home buyer.

Multiple offers on your home?

Well...unless you are the home seller, it is really not your home yet, right? Don't get emotionally attached when you are buying a house. Multiple offer situations can lead to a lot of anxiety and a myriad of emotions. Advanced preparation and informed decisions are the best way to get the home of your dreams. Here are some other tips on making your highest and best offer when buying a house.

  • Be pre-approved, not just pre-qualified: You want the seller to know that you are ready, willing and able to buy the home.
  • Limit the number of contingencies: The fewer the number of possible bumps in the road to closing, the more appealing your offer is to the seller.
  • Try to work with the seller's timeline: Some may want a quick closing; others may need more time. Try to know their needs and accommodate them.

With some pent-up buyer demand, limited inventory and rising mortgage rates, multiple offer situations will occur. Some houses sell for above the asking prices. Know the market value of the house before you place your highest and best offer. If your offer is not accepted, it is not because you lost. It is because the other buyers lacked your knowledge and good judgment.

April
8

Essential Fixes To Make After An Inspection

If you accepted an offer with a home inspection contingency, be aware that your buyer is entitled to renegotiate or walk away based on the results of the home inspection. Therefore, many consider the home inspection one of the final hurdles to clear before closing.

Home inspections can uncover all sorts of concerns ranging from minor to significant. While you aren't legally obligated to pay for any repairs prior to closing, failing to fix some essential items can ultimately cause the deal to fall through. Below, we'll focus on what sellers should fix and what concerns you can most likely let slide:

Essential Seller Repairs

If an issue uncovered in the home inspection leads to health or safety concerns or raises questions regarding whether the home is inhabitable, it's reasonable for buyers to ask sellers to address it prior to closing. Some of these more serious concerns include:

  • Significant Structural Concerns - Visible cracks, structural framing defects, sagging roofs, or foundation problems
  • Fire or Electrical Hazards - Old electrical systems,  double-tapping of circuit breakers, a lack of GFCI protection, etc.
  • Pest Infestation - Ants, termites, rodents
  • Water Damage - Major leaks, plumbing issues, mold damage.

Again, while the seller doesn't have to make these repairs, the buyer is within their right to walk away if these aren't addressed. Also, in some cases, the buyer's lender may require that some of these issues are taken care of before the buyer can secure financing, especially if the problems are serious.

At the end of the day, everything is negotiable. If you're in a hurry to sell, you can also offer to lower your sale price as opposed to fixing the issues.

Non-Essential Repairs

While it's usually good to fix doorknobs, loose boards, light switches, and even paint prior to listing your property, sellers generally aren't on the hook for cosmetic repairs or problems caused by general "wear and tear." As a rule of thumb, you shouldn't worry about any minor repairs that cost less than $100. Buyers will most often prioritize the largest, most serious concerns.

Selling Your Home As-Is

Sellers always have the option to sell a home "as is," which signals to buyers there is no room for negotiation on repairs. This might be the best option if you need to sell quickly regardless of what issues turn up.

Keep in mind, buyers will still conduct a home inspection and can still ask to negotiate the sale price based on the results of the inspection. However, in this instance, you wouldn't be on the hook to finance and manage the repairs yourself.

The home inspection is often one of the most stressful parts of a real estate transaction, and it can be somewhat unpredictable. As a seller, it's not your responsibility to fix every item, but you take care of the major issues. During the process, rely on your real estate agent to help you negotiate the terms and details.

April
6

6 Tips for Selling a Unique Property

There's no doubt that selling a unique property comes with its share of challenges. Real estate shoppers rely heavily on comparable properties when analyzing prices, and by definition, a unique property is difficult to compare with anything else in the area when selling your home. A property can be unique because of its value, layout, or extravagant upgrades, especially if has been personalized specifically to suit the needs of its previous owner. The good news is that selling a unique property is far from impossible, but it may require different tactics than selling a property that fits more naturally with the neighborhood. Get started with our six tips on how to sell your unique property.

  1. Aerial Photos Showcase the Whole Property
    Many properties are unique due to their location, views, the size of the lot, or the unique outdoor features of the property. It's hard to capture these perks with standard photography, which is why aerial photography is such a powerful tool for selling unique properties. A view from above highlights what makes the property unique, and shows buyers why it's worth the investment.
  2. Video Tours to Highlight the Property's Unique Features
    While aerial photos are great for showcasing the outdoor aspects of a property, they won't show off all of the unique aspects awaiting buyers indoors. Video tours can be a great way to highlight unique interior features, tell the story of historic properties, and give buyers an easy way to explore the property from the comfort of home.
  3. Picking a Price for a Unique Property
    Choosing the right price is one of the biggest challenges in selling a unique property. A professional appraisal can give you an idea of what the property is worth, but even then there will not be many comparable properties in the area. The historical value, location, and unique features of the property all play an important role in setting the right price when selling your home.
  4. Extraordinary Properties Require Extraordinary Marketing
    When you're selling a unique property, it pays to go above and beyond the marketing that you might use for a more traditional home. In other words, your marketing should be just as unique and high-quality as the home itself. That may mean spending more on better quality marketing materials and tailoring your marketing to the niche demographics most likely to be interested in the property.
  5. Highlight the Perks, and Be Honest about Maintenance
    With a unique property, it pays to be honest about all aspects of owning the property. A historic home may require more repairs, and property with expansive outdoor space will require significant landscaping throughout the year. However, the property's history, upgrades, or outdoor space are also key elements in attracting the right buyer, and you should always make highlighting the positives of every aspect of the property your top priority.
  6. Professional Staging for Your Target Demographic
    Professional staging helps buyers see the full potential of the property, and the right pro can help you stage the property in a way that specifically appeals to your target demographic. The right staging can make all the difference in how a buyer perceives the home when they arrive, and give your marketing materials a boost in the process. 

Selling a unique home may not always be easy, but you can absolutely learn from the people who have been in your shoes before. By capturing the unique nature of the property through images/video, choosing the right price, and making the most of modern marketing tools, you can simplify the process of selling your home.

April
5

Tax Deductions You Can Take From Selling Your Home

Tax season is upon us, and if you sold your house in 2021 (or are planning to sell it in the future), you're in luck! Thanks to the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there are some tax deductions you can take that may result in serious savings! Here are a few of the most important.

  1. Capital Improvements
    If you've made certain upgrades to your home before selling, the IRS allows you to add the costs of these "capital improvements" to your home's cost basis. This can reduce the amount of capital gains tax you may owe after you sell your home.


    It's important to note that not all repairs and upgrades meet the government's definition of a capital improvement. Some of the things that meet the guidelines include upgrading your HVAC system, adding a lawn sprinkler system, adding an additional bedroom, bathroom, deck, garage, porch, or patio, updating your water heater, adding built-in appliances, and more. If you make any improvements or upgrades to your home, be sure to hold onto all your receipts. When it's time for you and your tax preparer to complete your return, they can review your expenses and determine what may qualify.
  1. Selling Costs
    Costs tied directly to the sale of your home are deductible as long as the home is your primary residence and you lived there at least two of the five years prior to the sale. As long as you meet these requirements, you can write off expenses, including real estate commissions, legal fees, escrow fees, advertising costs, and even home staging fees.


    Note that this isn't a direct deduction. Instead, it's subtracted from the sales price of your home, which positively impacts the amount of capital gains tax you might owe.
  1. Mortgage Interest
    Current tax rules allow you to deduct the interest you pay on your home mortgage debt of up to $750,000. Just remember that mortgage interest and property taxes are itemized deductions, and it only makes sense to itemize if the total is higher than your standard deduction.
  1. Property Taxes
    The new 2018 rules capped the amount of property taxes you can write off, but they still allow you to take a deduction of up to $10,000. Make sure you include the amount of any property taxes you paid on your tax return.
  1. Discount Points
    When you pay points in cash to buy down the interest rate on your mortgage or refinance, the IRS allows you to deduct a portion of the points each year until your mortgage is paid in full. When you sell your house and pay off your mortgage loan, you're able to deduct the remaining amount all at once. This is one of the most forgotten-about home selling tax deductions, but it can be significant in some cases.
  1. Moving Expenses
    Unfortunately, not everyone can deduct their moving expenses. However, if you're active-duty military personnel, you'll want to take advantage of this deduction.
  1. BONUS: Capital Gains Taxes
    The capital gains tax rule isn't really a deduction, it's an exclusion. However, it's so important that we decided to add it to this list. Capital gains are the profit you make from selling your home. It's the cash left over after you've paid off your mortgage and other expenses. As long as you have lived in the home at least two of the last five years, single filers can exclude up to $250,000 of capital gains, and married filers can exclude up to $500,000.

While the information above is an excellent starting point, remember that each person's finances are different. It's always a good idea to speak to a tax professional before filing your taxes, particularly in years when you have a major life change, like a home sale.

April
4

6 Tips for Millennial Homebuyers

Buying a house is a goal of many Millennials. However, some people mistakenly believe that it's an impossible goal. If you're interested in buying a home, it's essential to know this goal is attainable with a little patience and preparation. Millennials take note: these six tips will help you become a happy homeowner.

  1. Don't Rush, But Don't Wait Too Long
    Buying a house is a major milestone in your life, and it's a decision you should make responsibly. You shouldn't rush to purchase a home until you're able to comfortably afford it, but you also shouldn't be afraid to buy a home when you're ready and capable. 
  2. Pay Down Debt & Start Saving
    One of the best financial decisions you can make is to reduce your debts and increase your savings as often as possible whether you're buying a house or not. Several factors influence your ability to buy a home, including your credit score. By managing your debts and proactively saving for a down payment, you'll be in a better position when the time comes to make an offer. 
  3. Learn About the Market
    Before you begin your home search, it's not a bad idea to learn about your desired market and real estate transactions in general. For instance, many first-time homebuyers aren't aware of the closing costs they might be responsible for. By learning about these small but important details, you'll be more informed during your search and better prepared to enter into a contract with confidence. 
  4. Plan for Practical Not Pretend
    Who doesn't dream of the perfect home? Dazzling designs, amazing amenities, and one-of-a-kind features are fantastic when you're daydreaming. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford million-dollar homes––or even any home above a certain budget. As you consider buying a home, stay practical in your expectations. Create a list that separates your must-haves from your dream wish-list. This technique helps you manage your expectations and ensures you find a home that meets your needs. Keep in mind that buying a house does not need to be a one-time experience. Buying a house now that you can responsibly afford can set you on your next step to one-day owning your dream home.
  5. Enlist the Help of a REALTOR®
    While it is true that you don't need to hire a REALTOR® when buying a house, it's to your benefit that you do. They are highly educated, trained, and experienced and know the ins and outs of the industry. More importantly, they're 100% on your side. Their job is to ensure you not only get the best deal when buying a house but that you're completely satisfied with the process from start to finish. 
  6. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
    Buying a house can feel intimidating. It's essential to find answers to all of your questions. There are no "stupid" questions in the real estate world, only buyers wise enough to ease their uncertainties before finalizing the contract. Be sure to ask your REALTOR® any and every question you may have; they'll be happy to answer all of them.

Buying a house is a realistic goal for many Millennials. If you learn to manage your finances, gain insight into the real estate market, and trust your real estate professional you'll discover that buying a house is an attainable goal.

April
1

If you have kids, keeping them busy and active can be a challenge. Especially if the weather is too hot, cold, or rainy, it can be tough to find something for them to do. Fortunately, Shreveport has plenty of indoor activities that kids will love.

Our real estate agents suggest visiting the following kid-oriented indoor destinations in Shreveport:

  • Shreveport Aquarium - 601 Clyde Fant Pkwy., Shreveport, LA 71101
    Kids will love exploring at Shreveport Aquarium, with over 300 species and 1,000 animals. They'll be able to see a wide variety of sea creatures and reptiles, including sharks, seahorses, and eels. And while seeing these underwater animals is amazing, kids can also get up-and-close and personal with some as they hand-feed gentle stingrays and touch moon jellies. Additional experiences include watching the staff feed sharks and alligator snapping turtles. They can also hunt for treasure, gems, fossilized shark teeth, and more as they learn about how fossil records show Louisiana used to be at the bottom of an ocean.

  • Air U Indoor Trampoline Park - 424 Ashley Ridge Blvd., Shreveport, LA 71106 
    At Air U Indoor Trampoline, kids—and adults—can have fun and stay active no matter what the weather is outside. The destination has about 10,000-15,000 square feet of trampolines for all ages, as well as foam pits. The pits are huge and have tumble tramps so kids can test their aerial skills as they launch into over 25,000 cubes of fun. Trampoline dodgeball courts and basketball courts are also available, so kids can try to get high enough to dunk.

  • Escape Games - 8856 Youree Dr., Shreveport, LA 71115 and 2708 Plantation Dr., Bossier City, LA 71111
    Kids can work together to solve the mystery of several different puzzles at Escape Games, which has a location in Shreveport and one near Bossier City homes for sale. Each location has its own puzzles, so they're both worth a visit. Some are a little creepier and are best suited for older kids, but they're marked on the destination's website. One that's suitable for the younger set is "Santa's List," which challenges kids to sneak into Santa's house to erase their names from his Naughty List before he comes back for his daily milk and cookie break.

  • 318 Climb - 731 American Way, Shreveport, LA 71106
    Located inside Shreveport Soccer at the end of American Way, 318 Climb is a rock climbing facility that provides fun and exercise for beginners as well as kids who've climbed before. When you arrive, let the front desk know what your kids' experience levels are so they can help everyone get started with the right amount of help. And instead of just supervising, you might want to join your kids in having fun.

  • AcroSports - 735 American Way, Shreveport, LA 71106
    If your kids are into gymnastics or baseball, they'll love going to AcroSports, where they can take gymnastics or hitting lessons. Hitting classes with Rapsodo Hitting Analysis lets kids get specific information and feedback on their swing, including the ball's exit velocity, launch angle, spin direction and rate, and projected distance. And even if your kids don't want to take gymnastics or hitting lessons, Fridays at AcroSports provide fun for everyone. Ages 5-12 are welcome every Friday night from 7-11 p.m. for supervised games and activities, trampolines, a foam pit, and more. Pizza and drinks are also served.

Contact us if you'd like to see Shreveport homes for sale. We're the largest full-service real estate company in Northwest Louisiana and have been helping residents buy and sell homes since 1960. 

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