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Date Archives: August 2022

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August
31

5 Reasons to Buy Instead of Rent

While renting a home is a rite of passage for most people, there comes a time when most of us get tired of stroking a check to the landlord every month. If you've started thinking about joining the 65 percent of Americans who own their own homes, you'll be glad to know that now is a great time to do it! 

Not sure if you're ready to take the leap into homeownership? Check out these five huge advantages of buying a house over renting.  

It's a Great Long-Term Investment
It's true that buying a home adds some expenses you won't have as a renter. You'll have to pay for things like closing costs on the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses. However, when you're paying down your own mortgage instead of paying monthly rent, you're investing in your future.  Buying a house allows you to build equity that you can later pull out if you need it. Owning a home also gives you an asset that you can sell when you get older or pass onto your loved ones. 

You May Qualify for Tax Benefits
Although tax laws are complicated, many homeowners are able to take deductions for the mortgage interest they pay. This gives those who buy a home a clear advantage over those who continue to rent.

Buying a House Give You More Control
When you sign a rental lease, there are usually a ton of stipulations you'll need to follow. You may not get to decide what color to paint the living room or whether you'll add a dog to your family. Want to put a pool in the backyard or add an extra bathroom? If you rent, you're out of luck. Buying your own home gives you the power to make all of these decisions and more. You can control the landscaping and all of your home's interior and exterior features. You also get to decide who stays in your home with you, and for how long. 

Homeownership Gives You More Security
As long as you make your mortgage and property tax payments on time, no one can throw you out of a home you own. As a renter, however, there's always a chance that the property owner will decide to sell the property, and you'll have to move. When this happens, it's almost never at a time that's convenient for you.

There's also the chance that your landlord will eventually raise your rent as the cost of living continues to rise. Homeowners who have locked in a fixed mortgage payment are creating extra stability in their lives. While your homeowner's insurance, utility expenses, and property taxes will likely rise, you'll at least have the peace of mind in knowing that your mortgage payment will never go up. Even better, once you pay off the mortgage, you can eliminate that expense from your budget. As a renter, you'll never have that opportunity. 

You'll Feel a Huge Sense of Accomplishment
For many people, buying a house is one of the biggest accomplishments of their lifetime. You'll be able to feel proud of what you've done, and know that you've done what it takes to make your dream of owning a home a reality! 

August
30

Have You Outgrown Your Current Home?

Has selling your home crossed your mind? For many homeowners, the thought of selling their house is quite conflicting. On one hand, it's the space where your family and friends gather to celebrate the moments of life, both little and large. On the other, sometimes relocating to a new space is the change you need to accommodate your current finances and lifestyle. One way that you can identify if it's time for you to move is when you notice that you've outgrown your current home.

Have you outgrown your current home? Here are ten signs it is the perfect opportunity to sell your home.

  1. Your children are growing up.
    As your children grow, so will their needs. Sharing bedrooms and bathrooms may not be practical anymore, especially if you have boys and girls of different ages.
  2. Aging adults are moving in.
    The birth of a new child isn't the only way your family can grow. If you or your partner have aging adults that need to move into your home, you'll need more space. Often, a spare bedroom isn't enough to accommodate their needs. Parents and grandparents may need a separate living space in addition to their own bathroom, bedroom, and even kitchen.
  3. There is no dedicated space to work.
    Are your kitchen counters covered with paperwork? Do your children struggle to do their homework at the dining room table as you're trying to set places for dinner? If there is no dedicated office or space in bedrooms for your family to work, you may need a larger home.
  4. Your family needs room for playtime, hobbies, and activities.
    Additional space is required for more than just paperwork and homework. If there's no room for children to play with their toys or adults to engage in their hobbies, the house can feel quite cramped. This is especially problematic when you realize that dedicated spaces like a garage, basement, or attic can't adequately double as activity spaces and storage spaces.
  5. Storage is increasingly limited.
    Are your possessions neatly tucked away or are they always in the way? If you're having trouble finding adequate storage space for your family's items, it will make your home feel much smaller.
  6. You need more — or less — outdoor space.
    While it's common for many families to desire a larger yard space for outdoor entertaining, there are just as many homeowners that have outgrown their lawns. Whether you're in need of more space or less lawn care, a new home may accommodate your outdoor needs.
  7. There are major life changes occurring in your family.
    Selling your home is sometimes the best option when you find yourself entering into a major life transition such as a change in finances or occupation.
  8. You're outgrowing your neighborhood or neighbors.
    Even though you love your home, you may feel the need to change your surroundings. If you desire a neighborhood or neighbors that align with your lifestyle, selling your home is an option.
  9. You've been passively looking at other homes.
    Do you catch yourself browsing listings even though you're not "actively" looking? That's a firm indicator that you're ready for something new.
  10. You're not in love with your home anymore.
    Simply put — if it's not the home of your dreams anymore, you should consider selling.

Selling your home is a major decision that shouldn't be made lightly. Consider these points, have an open discussion with your family, and reach out to a real estate agent if you believe now is the right time to sell.

August
29

It's always hard to predict the future, especially with the housing market. But one thing is for sure – real estate remains a sound investment. If you're looking for your dream home, here are some tips to help set you up for success and guide you through this buying season.

Assess Your Financial Health
Before you fall in love with your dream home, make sure you're prepared to purchase it. Take a look at your bank accounts along with your monthly spending, so you have a clear and realistic picture of your finances. This will also help you figure out how much you can afford to put toward a down payment. It's also a good time to check your credit score. Most importantly, you'll want to meet with a loan officer to get pre-approved, so sellers take you seriously and you're in a better position to make a strong offer.

Tip: A pre-approval gives you more negotiating power because it tells the seller and real estate agent that your funding is in place and ready to go.

Stay Flexible
Whether it's time or money, be prepared to give a little more. Say for instance, there's competition on a house and you've been outbid, but you have the flexibility to give the seller the extra time they need to close and move out. That can make a huge difference and could even put you ahead of the competition. Showing the seller that you're willing to go the extra mile to purchase their home could earn your offer a second glance, especially if it helps make their life easier.

Tip: Try to refrain from asking for favors. This is not the time to ask the seller to give you the refrigerator or washer and dryer, part with playset or paint the front door.

You Found the One
You found a home that meets all or most of your wish list, it's within your price range and you've stalked the neighborhood to make sure it's right for you. Now's the time to make an offer. Keep in mind that your opening offer should be based on two things: what you can afford and what you really believe the property is worth. Sure, there's always a possibility that there will be other offers, regardless of the time of year and the market, but try not to let that influence you to pay more than you should.

Tip: Offer more earnest money. While it's not always required, it could help you stand out in this competitive housing market. Sellers like buyers that make these good faith deposits because they want assurance that the sale won't fall through.

Buying a new home is an exciting time and can also be a stressful time, but if you're prepared and keep these tips in mind, you should find it a much smoother process. And finally getting the keys to your new home makes it all worth it!

 

August
26

Why Some Pending Home Sales Fall Through

The vast majority of home sales are successful transactions that make it to the final closing stage. However, now and then a pending sale for a home will fail to make it to the final closing stage. Failure to close out on buying a home can be the result of a wide variety of reasons, whether it is buyer's remorse or related to financial issues. Here are the top five reasons why pending home sales never make it to the final closing stage. 

  1. Mortgage Loan Rejection
    Buyers with plenty of income and a strong credit score are not always guaranteed to qualify for a mortgage loan. Losing a job at an unexpected time or going through a divorce can cause the application for a mortgage loan to be rejected. Failure to provide enough money for the closing costs can also result in a mortgage loan denial.
  2. Low Appraisals
    Not all home loan application rejections result from the failure to meet strict standards. A lower than expected appraisal can make it difficult for a buyer to purchase a home, as it will force the buyer to make up the difference or renegotiate for a lower price with the seller. If the seller is unwilling to lower the price, and the buyer doesn't have the extra money to make up the difference, the pending sale will fail to reach the closing stage.
  3. Home Inspections
    Most homes look similar to an untrained professional, but a home inspector can pinpoint troubling details that may cause a buyer to hesitate on purchasing a home. Any cracks in the wall or a leaky roof can cause hesitation and make a buyer reconsider the purchase of a home. A buyer can ask for additional compensation for these issues, but a seller may refuse to negotiate. Ultimately, this will result in the fail of a pending sale before it can reach the final closing stage.
  4. Buyer's Remorse
    A standard contract usually allows a buyer two to three weeks to do additional inspections and take care of other details before the deal is finalized. A buyer can cancel the agreement at any time during this period, and some first-time buyers get cold feet and do not feel that they can afford the long-term commitment of purchasing a new home. However, an experienced real estate agent can provide the necessary guidance and help first-time buyers avoid feeling overwhelmed throughout the process.
  5. Buyer Fails to Sell Home
    Many home contracts are dependent upon a buyer selling their home within a specific time period, such as 30 or 60 days. Depending on the area, some homes are much more difficult to put on the market. Failure to sell a home during this time period will result in the cancellation of a contract, as the vast majority of homeowners are unable to pay for two mortgages at the same time.

Purchasing a home is a lengthy process that is dependent on the completion of various steps throughout the home buying stage. Understanding these common roadblocks to pending sales can help clients overcome any obstacles and purchase a home without any complications.

August
24

Buying a Home? Minimize the Time & Maximize the Results

Make the Most of Your Home-Buying Efforts

When you're ready to buy a home, you don't want the process to drag on indefinitely. Of course, you can't necessarily avoid traditional home-buying steps such as showings, negotiation, home inspection, mortgage approval, and closing. But if your mission is to minimize the time and maximize the results, you'll have to plan and organize every step.


Prepare Financially


Long before you decide to start looking for a home, you must get your financial life in order. It eases the mortgage approval process.

  • Clean up your credit - Access your three credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. Straighten out any errors or problems.
  • Get out of debt - Mortgage companies will see you as more creditworthy.
  • Build a cash cushion - A healthy bank account will give your credit image a boost. You'll have the money you need for closing and moving expenses. You'll be ahead when taxes, utility bills, home maintenance, and other homeownership costs start rolling in.
  • Get Pre-Approved - Your mortgage company will review your credit-worthiness and issue a letter explaining how much they're willing to finance. Homeowners will be more willing to negotiate when you're pre-approved.
  • Determine your home-buying budget - Run the numbers through the Fannie Mae "Know Your Options" app or another online mortgage calculator.
  • Investigate alternative loan sources - Check out FHA, VA, USDA, and other loan programs. Some have lower down payments and less stringent work history and credit requirements,


Figure Out What You Want


Assuming you've made peace with the idea of giving up your weekends to perform homeownership chores, the next step is figuring out what kind of home you want.

  • What neighborhood do you prefer?
  • What's important as far as home style, bedrooms, features, and amenities?
  • What do you not want?
  • How much can you afford to pay for heating, cooling, and home maintenance?


Connect with a REALTOR®


A REALTOR® can move your homeownership dream forward by first telling you if what you want exists in your neighborhood of choice.

To find the right professional, ask friends and family for referrals. Visit nearby open houses and meet the listing agent.  Before you call for an appointment, consider the traits you require.

  • Knows the real estate market in the area where you want to live
  • Has a consistent sales history
  • Is willing to show you only homes that meet your requirements
  • Has negotiation skills
  • Has time to work with you


Don't Waste Your Time


If you want to maximize your results, you must minimize time wasters. Don't spend too much time evaluating a home with problems you know you won't want to deal with. Put it on your "No" list and move on. Also:

  • Never waste time looking at homes you don't like.
  • Look for any conditions you consider unacceptable.
  • Take photos so you don't forget the problems.


And when you find a home you love, check existing records before concluding a deal.

  • Ask for a copy of any seller's inspection reports.
  • Check county records for tax issues or liens.
  • Ask for any current land surveys or appraisals.


The best way to maximize your home-buying effort is to connect early on with a real estate professional. A real estate professional can negotiate a purchase that includes a quick closing so you can move in as quickly as possible.

August
23

Is Buying an Energy-Efficient Home a Top Priority?

As you compare different features when looking for the perfect property, you have a lot to consider:  Is energy efficiency on your list?

From price and location to square footage and architectural style, your new home's features will affect your everyday life, so it's important to make the right decision for you. Some factors will affect your comfort, others will affect your home's function, and others will afect your budget. However, one plays a bug role in all three: your home's energy efficiency.

Here are some of the most valuable reasons to prioritize homes with energy-efficient features.

  1. Efficient HVAC Systems Could Cut Future Energy Bills in Half
    Programmable thermostats make it much easier to develop efficient heating and cooling habits, but it all comes down to your HVAC system. Inefficient systems can double a home's energy use, because they have to work overtime to stabilize indoor temperatures. Because older units are less efficient and may need to be replaced in the near future, it's important to know the age and maintenance history of every HVAC appliance. However, only an energy audit can reveal the efficiency of the whole system. If you're in the process of buying a house, make sure your inspection also includes an energy audit from a certified home energy rater, who will evaluate the duct work, seals, and other factors that affect how much energy it takes to heat or cool your whole home.


  2. Low-Flow Plumbing & Plants Lower Your Water Bills
    The average household wastes a lot of water on everyday tasks like flushing toilets, brushing teeth, and watering lawns. While you need water, you don't need to pay for water that runs down the drain or feeds plants that don't belong in your climate. Whether you care about saving the planet or reducing your monthly payouts to the water company, it's time to consider indoor and outdoor ways to minimize water waste. Low-flow, dual-flush toilets use only as much water as they need, while drought-resistant landscaping choices reduce your outdoor irrigation needs. Look for homes with tankless water heaters, water-saving sink faucets, and rainwater irrigation systems too.


  3. Extra Insulation Keeps Your Home Comfortable All Year
    Newer windows and roofs should always stand out when you're buying a house, and not just because they won't need to be replaced any time soon. Today's options are more insulated, sun-resistant, durable, and efficient than ever, with materials specifically designed to reduce indoor-outdoor temperature transfer and withstand the elements better. For example, insulated glass units (IGUs) are windows with two or three glass panes, which have moisture-absorbing spacers between them for even more insulation. Reflective shingles keep roofs significantly cooler, preventing hotbox effects in the attic and reducing the strain on the HVAC system. As you look for your next home, look for newer features that increase insulation and prevent huge seasonal fluctuations in your HVAC usage.


  4. Energy Star Appliances & Lights Have Exciting New Features
    Buying a house with greener features isn't all about sacrifice. Energy Star makes it easy to tell which appliances meet recommended efficiency standards, but you'll probably find that these efficient fixtures are more fun, too. For example, LED light bulbs prevent heat gain and use far less electricity, but some also come with innovative features like mobile connectivity and changing colors that respond to music. Energy Star appliances often make cooking and cleaning easier too, so look for that label.


As you weigh different priorities and consider homes with different types of appliances, windows, and more, it's important to make sure energy efficiency is always on your mind.

August
22

Shifting Seasons and Shifting Markets

Every year at this time my juices really get flowing. While I love the summer, this is my favorite time of the year. It's football season! LSU and the SEC, LA Tech and our other nearby schools, and, of course, our high school football season is here. Go Byrd!

Speaking of area football, how about the splash that our own Decoldest Crawford made promoting SOS Heating and Cooling in Lincoln, Nebraska! If you are an athlete with "house," "home," "bedroom," etc., in your name, give me a call and we can talk!

As our season turns to fall, we are seeing our real estate market also showing signs of turning. I want to start this month's blog by looking at the current supply vs. demand equation and what it means:

  • Demand
    • There were 433 homes sold in Northwest Louisiana in July. This was way below the 521 sold in June and the 598 sold last July. We also came in below the five-year July average of 505.
    • This was the first month since the pandemic began that we had come in a month compared to that same month the year before. This had to happen because the pace of the past two years was unsustainable.
    • The slowdown occurred for one simple reason: higher mortgage rates. When the pandemic began, mortgage rates reached all-times lows. But they have crept up. For a variety of economic reasons, they recently rose to the 6% range. But, over the last couple of weeks, we are seeing them come down and that is creating increased demand again as we near September.
    • Looking at the entirety of 2022 so far, there have been 3,231 homes sold in Northwest Louisiana, which is down 9% from this time in 2021 – the best year ever! But we are still tracking to have the second strongest sales year in history!
    • This chart shows exactly what is occurring at our different price points in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes. You will notice the biggest reasons for our sales decline is because of the lack of activity in the $200,000-and-less range. There were 59 sales of homes under $100,000 last month and 135 priced between $100,000-$200,000. A year ago, at this time, there were 320 homes sold combined in these price ranges:

Price Range

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

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

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

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

Total

3,231 (-9%)

1,300 (-7%)

1,830 (-11%)

101 (-6%)

$100,000 & less

464 (-14%)

    114 (-3%)

338 (-16%)

12 (-33%)

$100,000-$200,000

1,022 (-21%)

317 (-23%)

678 (-19%)

27 (-31%)

$200,000-$300,000

983 (-4%)

469 (-9%)

491 (-1%)

    23 (+15%)

$300,000-$400,000

418 (+4%)

250 (+6%)

149 (-1%)

19 (+19%)

$400,000-$500,000

188 (+5%)

100 (+10%)

78 (+1%)

10 (-9%)

$500,000-
$600,000

74 (+30%)

    28 (+17%)

38 (+19%)

8 (+700%)

$600,000+

82 (+28%)

22 (+47%)

58 (+23%)

2 (0%)

 

  • Supply
    • Northwest Louisiana entered August with 1,010 homes on the market. This was up 8% over last July. That is great news.
    • This equates to a 2.2%-month supply. Although way better than the 1.6 months we had in May, this is still really low. In fact, two years ago, it was 3.4 months and before COVID it was 5.4.
    • But it is still not enough supply and therefore homes continue to sell at an astonishingly fast pace. Our median "days on market" is just 9 days. This is the same number as a year ago. We are 5 days faster than the national average.
    • Take a look at this chart which breaks out our supply at the various price points compared to 5 years ago. The lower the month-supply, the greater a seller's market. Remember a 5/6-month supply is considered balanced.:

Price Range

July 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

May 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply

Total

1,010/2.1

2,3,04/5.8

$100,000 & less

200/3.0

467/4.8

$100,000-$200,000

254/1.6

722/4.4

$200,000-$300,000

232/1.6

529/5.7

$300,000-$400,000

125/2.1

283/9.7

$400,000-$500,000

66/2.5

133/14.5

$500,000+

133/6.3

170/24.9

 

  • Prices
    • We've established that there is still buyer demand – although not at the record pace we once had.
    • We've established that our supply is still not enough to meet demand and provide enough choice for potential buyers.
    • Therefore, it is no surprise that our median price (middle of all July sold homes) was $220,000, an increase of 16% over last July.
    • Our region is just like 80% of the U.S. where we have seen double-digit price appreciation compared to last year.

Let's look at how our region compares to the U.S. utilizing the National Association of Realtors most recent Existing Home Sales Report. We are up in prices, off a bit in sales and selling at a faster pace with less inventory:

 

U.S.

(change over July '21)

Northwest LA

(change over July '21)

Median Price

$403,800/+10.8%

$220,000/+16%

Number of Sales

4.81 million/-20.2%
(annualized)

433/-28%

Inventory

1.31 million/unchanged

1,010/+8%

Month Supply

3.3/2.6

2.1/1.8

Median Days on Market

14/17

9/9

You may have noticed I bolded the price appreciation of 16%. I did this for a reason. While we have enjoyed record appreciation over the last several years, double-digit increases are not the norm. In fact, I used to call Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes "Steady Eddy." We would creep along with small annual gains. We were the turtle to the hare of the East and West coasts which would see dramatic gains and losses.

Both buyers and sellers should understand this. A 3-5% price increase every year here has been the historical norm. That would mean today's $300,000 home would likely sell between $309,000-$315,000 a year from now.

Buyers have to understand that while we don't have a crystal ball, history tells us that the $300,000 home will not come down in price. Instead, it will increase in price by a bit.

This message is important for sellers too. We have likely passed "the top of the market" and seem to be returning to more normal times. Therefore, if you have been thinking of selling, you are still in a good position right now. You have likely made a lot in equity in your home. And the supply vs. demand imbalance remains in your favor. Also, for those looking to leave the region, the supply of homes in your next market is likely increasing. You may have more choices. Our Coldwell Banker Gosslee agents can help you connect with a great agent in that next community so you can get a handle on what's happening there.

What I have just been talking about is a fact-based, in-the-moment discussion. But home buying and selling a home is also an emotional decision.

That's why I would like to spend a few moments talking about Fannie Mae's Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). Every month since 2011, Fannie Mae showcases what buyers think about buying and sellers about selling.

Currently both buyers and sellers are at their most pessimistic points of the year. While in February, 29% felt it was a good time to buy a home, that number has dropped to 17%. That is clearly because of higher home prices coupled with higher mortgage rates. On the sales side, back in May 76% felt it was a good time to sell a home. Today it's just 67%. Obviously rising rates pulling some buyers out of the market is the rationale.

Here is what Fannie Mae has found for this year so:

Date

Good Time to Buy

Good Time to Sell

July

17%

67%

June

20%

68%

May

17%

76%

April

19%

72%

March

24%

74%

February

29%

72%

January

25%

69%

But we must put this in perspective. I went back and reviewed the HPSI for each July back through 2011. Looking at the below chart, it appears that unless home prices are at rock bottom, which they were as we came out of the Great Recession, buyers never really think it's a great time to buy. Especially today.

On the seller side, back in 2011 and 2012 when prices were at their historic lows, sellers knew it and therefore only 9% and 14%, respectively, said it was not a good time to sell. But as we came out of the recession, confidence returned and hit a peak last year – at the height of the pandemic-fueled boom – as 75% felt it was a good time to sell a home.

July

Good Time to Buy

Good Time to Sell

2021

28%

75%

2020

53%

45%

2019

26%

44%

2018

24%

41%

2017

23%

28%

2016

33%

20%

2015

61%

45%

2014

67%

43%

2013

74%

40%

2012

73%

16%

2011

69%

9%

If you are considering buying or selling a home – or even had a thought about doing so – I strongly encourage you to reach out to one of agents. The only way to learn is to ask questions. Your situation is going to be different from the next persons. Don't be afraid to ask.

Buying and selling a home is a major financial and emotional decision. Knowledge is powerful. We want to help!

If you want to get even more insight, you can click here to get our Coldwell Banker Gosslee July 2022 Monthly Market Report.

Please reach out to one of our agents or feel free to reach out to me at bgosslee@cbgosslee.com.

Geaux Tigers!

August
22

Bigger Isn't Always Better

Do you love your house, but not necessarily the chores or costs that come with it? Are you living comfortably, but you'd like the luxury of a bigger budget or a different lifestyle? Selling your home and moving into a smaller space might be exactly what you need. Unlike the board game that goes by the same name, real life isn't always about the size of your house. In fact, sometimes downsizing is the smartest way to upgrade your life. Instead of measuring your success in square footage, consider these advantages of downsizing your real estate investment.

Downsizing Means Decluttering

Clutter can accumulate in any sized space. However, if you've lived in a big house for years, it's easy to misjudge how much unused — or downright useless — stuff is filling your home. Downsizing gives you a great excuse to declutter and get rid of everything you don't need, use, or like. Do you have unworn clothes hanging at the back of your closet? Time to donate them. How about that extra furniture filling your crawl space? Time to get rid of that too. Even old documents, photos, albums, and videos can be digitized to downsize your storage needs and decrease the risk of damage.

Of course, some of your unused belongings may still have value, so consider selling furniture, appliances, books, jewelry, clothes, and anything else that is still functional. You'll have extra money for your next chapter, but the real benefit is psychological. Stowing things away "for later" creates a pattern of excess and clutter, and getting rid of them is a decision to live in the moment. It also helps you focus on the most significant parts of your life and surround yourself with items that truly make you happy or serve specific purposes in your life.

Smaller Spaces Are Cheaper to Clean & Power

When you downsize, it's not just your mortgage payments that get smaller. While this isn't always the case, bigger houses usually cost more to heat, cool, power, and clean. If your utility bills skyrocket every summer and winter, you could be wasting a lot of money controlling the temperature of rooms you don't even use. Extra windows and doors make it even easier for leaks to occur and energy bills to rise higher. Of course, more square footage also means more floors, walls, and windows to clean. All those surfaces require time and money to maintain, even if you outsource the actual chore.

You may be able to afford your cleaning and cooling costs, but why not make room in your budget for more enjoyable expenses? If you'd love to have smaller energy bills and fewer cleaning requirements, consider selling your home and finding a space with fewer rooms. High ceilings, multiple stories, and particularly sunny or dark spots are all energy-intensive, and if you upgrade to a newer space with more efficient windows and electrical requirements, that's even better.

Buying a home you love was a wise investment, but letting go might be just as wise. It's hard to overestimate the value of financial and physical freedom, especially if you're used to certain responsibilities and expenses. But without a big house to maintain or a big mortgage bill to pay, you'll have more time and money to focus on places, people, and hobbies that truly make you happy. Whether you're experiencing big life changes or trying to jump-start a change at long last, consider selling your home and buying a smaller one.

August
19

Staging a Home with Neutrals

If you're selling this summer and want to get top dollar for your home, here is what to do: stick to light, airy, neutrals when preparing your home for sale. 

Here are some tips to use in each room of your home:

Living Room

You don't need to buy a new couch, but if your decor is bright and bold, layer in some light grays, beiges, and whites -- throw pillows, blankets, window coverings and rugs will do the trick!

Kitchen

According to the National Association of Realtors, 80% of prospective buyers consider the kitchen one of the most important spaces. Paint cabinets, update hardware, and choose neutral colors. 

Bedrooms

Replace bright bedding with clean and crispt white linens. Remove anything that is not related to the bedroom (like a home office space) and keep the rooms free and clear of clutter. 

Bathrooms

Dark, dramatic colors might be on-trend, but if your bathroom is small, a whiter, brighter space will look bigger and help you sell faster. Also: add plush white towels to create contrast and add light. 

Bonus Room

Remember to give each room one specific purpose, be it an exercise room or home office. Multi-purpose spaces tens to appear cluttered and can seem smaller to a home buyer. 

As always, our experienced agents can help you get your home ready for the market! Just give us a call.

Bossier City Office 318-747-5411

Shreveport Offce 318-861-2461

August
18

Don't you just love a good, sizzling plate of fajitas? Then you're in luck! August 18th is National Fajita Day, the perfect opportunity to head to a local Tex-Mex restaurant and order yourself a plate of deliciousness. We're lucky to have plenty of good restaurants serving fajitas in the Shreveport and Bossier City area. Here are the top spots our real estate agents recommend. 

  • El Jimador Mexican Grill: 2711 Alkay Dr., Shreveport, LA 71118
    El Jimador Mexican Grill 
    is a casual Mexican restaurant with friendly service and a fun atmosphere. Their menu has an entire section dedicated to fajitas. For something lighter, try the Chicken & Shrimp Fajitas. Another good choice is the Desoto's Fajitas, with grilled chicken, steak, bacon, and shrimp.

    In addition to fajitas, El Jimador has some incredible nachos and appetizers. Their guacamole is a fan favorite, and you can't go wrong with an order of flan for dessert. Save time to look at some Shreveport homes for sale after your meal.

  • Trejo's Mexican Restaurant: 2157 Airline Dr., Bossier City, LA 71111
    If you're in the area looking at Bossier City homes for sale, stop by Trejo's Mexican Restaurant for a fajita lunch. Start off with an order of the fajita nachos, which come with your choice of beef, chicken, or shrimp. Then, move on to the fajitas lunch, which comes with beef or chicken on a bed of grilled onions and peppers.

    Trejo's sells their guacamole, white queso, pico de gallo, and tortillas in to-go packages, so pick some up to take home and enjoy later. The fried ice cream and Hershey pie are awesome dessert options.

  • Don Juan Baja Beach Tacos: 2333 Airline Dr., Bossier City, LA 71111
    Don Juan Baja Beach Tacos is well known for their fish tacos, but they also serve some incredible fajitas. The Fajitas El Don Juan is made with aged skirt steak or chicken breast. Served with delicious guacamole and pico de gallo, it's bursting with layers of flavor.

    This Bossier City favorite sources most ingredients locally. They make their own tortillas and salsa in-house, and everything is prepared to order. 

  • El Patio Bar & Grill: 707 Barksdale Blvd., Bossier City, LA 71111
    El Patio Par & Grill is a relaxed Mexican restaurant with colorful decor and a festive personality. Their express menu makes them a great place to stop for lunch. Choose a dish, and it will be ready in minutes for you to enjoy. The Taco Salad Fajita is delicious. So is the fajita quesadilla, served with rice and beans on the side.

    If you have a little more time to spare, consider ordering a margarita and staying a while. This restaurant also as a kids' menu, making it a great place to dine with family.

  • Ramirez Mexican Restaurant: 6715 Pines Rd., Ste. 108, Shreveport, LA 71129
    Ramirez Mexican Restaurant is an authentic Mexican restaurant that serves freshly prepared dishes made with quality ingredients. They have a great happy hour and an entire menu of fajitas. The shrimp and tilapia fajitas are a local favorite.

    At Ramirez Mexican Restaurant, you can also stay for dessert. Enjoy their Mexican cheesecake or their sopapillas with ice cream. Pair it with a glass of horchata or Mexican Coca-Cola, and you're set.

National Fajita Day is definitely a holiday worth celebrating. Whether you prefer steak, chicken, or shrimp, the restaurants above have the perfect thing to suit your palate. Contact us if you're new to the area and still looking for homes. We can help!

August
17

Buying A House? Try Our Home Buying Workout

If buying a house is on your bucket list, there's no time like the present to "get into training" for your house hunt. Here are seven steps to follow so you can hit the ground running this year:

  1. Required Reading – So it's not really required, but researching real estate tips online is free, easy, and informative. Read blogs, peruse forums, and watch videos. Checking out real estate tips from various sources will allow you to consider the market from new perspectives and is sure to yield a few tricks that will come in handy when it's time to close the deal.

  2. Find the Right Real Estate Agent – Working with a trusted real estate agent will make life much, much easier when shopping for a home. Your agent should be reliable, answer your questions promptly, understand the realities of your local real estate market, and has a plan specifically for you.

  3. Set a Budget – Setting a budget and sticking to it are two very different things. It's important to choose a number that fits comfortably with your overall finances. With a clear idea of what you have to spend, your real estate agent can help you find the best value for your investment.

  4. Check Your Credit Report – When working to secure a loan, the last thing you want is to find out that some old debt that you'd completely forgotten about or an error on the part of the rating agency is now causing trouble with your credit score. Avoid those unpleasant surprises by checking your credit score ahead of time and taking care of any outstanding issues.

  5. Get Pre-Approved – Having your finances in order from the start is a great way to gain an edge in competitive markets. In addition to being very appealing to sellers, pre-approval will give you a very clear idea of the funds you'll have available to purchase your new home.

  6. Become a Neighborhood Expert – When shopping for a house, it's good to remember that you are also shopping for the right neighborhood. Fortunately, researching neighborhoods is one of the more fun aspects of house hunting. Start your research online, then take the opportunity to get out, meet your potential neighbors, and sample the local businesses that make a neighborhood special.

  7. Think Twice Before Opening New Credit Cards – If your credit is in good shape, the end of the year is a common time to be solicited for new credit cards. Even if the terms really are favorable, you'll probably want to take a pass. Opening new cards can cause issues when it's time to secure a loan.

With these tips, you'll be in perfect shape to buy your new dream home.

August
16

Declutter To Sell Your House Faster

Everyone has a little "clutter" lying around the house — and some of us may have more than others. When you're selling your home, managing your home's look and feel is one of the best ways to maximize your chances of selling quickly and for the most amount of money.

Real estate pros know decluttering allows potential buyers to see your home as "their home" and makes it appear bigger with more storage space. Use these steps to get started:

  • Set a schedule. Sit down and look at your time. Don't worry about how much you have, just find some — twenty minutes a day, an hour, and five— whatever you can put in. Add it to your schedule, and set aside time specifically for decluttering. Determine deadlines as well. For example, plan on finishing the kitchen in a week and the bedrooms in two. Or have an overall deadline for the whole house. Decide what works best for you. Once you have your schedule, stick to it.

  • Move room by room. Looking at the whole house can feel overwhelming, so take it room by room, area by area. There are always trouble spots, like closets, desks, or cabinets. Tackle those first. Move steadily through each room until you're done.

  • Make three piles. As you go through things, make three piles: a keep, get rid of, and maybe pile. Once you've finished each area, put back the things you're keeping in an organized manner. Implement any organization systems as you go. The maybes should be put in a box and stowed for a few weeks. Revisit them and decide whether you really need them or not. Address the get rid of right away.

  • Get it out quickly. The key is to remove things as they come up. Have a plan — donate, garbage, or sell. Set aside time each week to do those things. List items on Craigslist, take a trip to the dump or run by the thrift store to drop items off. If you keep it around, clutter has a habit of working its way back into your home.

  • Learn to let go. One of the hardest things can be to let go of stuff. It may be sentimental; you may be saving it for when you really need it. Research on the web, or read a book about decluttering. Many resources have a series of questions to ask yourself to see if something is really worth holding onto. You can also ask if it is something you'll actually use and find time limits as to how long to hold onto certain things (like paperwork and clothes).

Decluttering Before You Sell Your Home

Not only can decluttering help you prepare for a move, but it also gives you a boost mentally. You'll be one step closer to staging, and you reduce the amount that you'll need to transport to the new house. In a way, it prepares you mentally to make a change. Decluttering gets you in the mindset to embrace a new setting, and you can make that new setting a new home.

It's true-decluttering is hard, but the rewards you'll reap are more than worth it.

August
12

Picnicking in the park is a great way to spend an afternoon with family. You can eat some of your favorite foods, sit back and watch the wildlife, and go for a walk after your meal. Shreveport, Bossier City, and the surrounding areas are home to several parks perfect for picnics. Here are a few top options our real estate agents recommend. 

  1. Shreveport Riverview Park: 601 Clyde Fant Pkwy., Shreveport, LA 71101
    If you're looking at Shreveport homes for sale, stop by this park for a picnic while you're out. Shreveport Riverview Park is located on the banks of the Red River, which makes for some beautiful views. There are fountains, flower gardens, and sculptures throughout the park too.

    Kids will love playing in the splash pad at this park. When they're done splashing, you can take a walk and admire the outdoor amphitheater used for summer concerts and plays.

  2. North Bossier Park: 4307 Old Brownlee Rd., Bossier City, LA 71111
    North Bossier Park is a prime place to visit if you're looking at Bossier City homes for sale nearby. This is another lovely park with a splash pad for kids. It also has some climbing rocks and a playground, so you'll have plenty of things to do after your picnic.

    There are four pavilions at North Bossier Park, which means you can enjoy shelter from the sun while eating. Jogging trails wind through the park, and the on-site restrooms are kept clean.

  3. Mike Woods Memorial Park: 2200 Dennis St., Bossier City, LA 71112
    Mike Woods Memorial Park is a small but lovely park hidden away in a residential neighborhood in Bossier City. Within the park, a dedicated picnic area is a great place to eat lunch or dinner. There are three pavilions for shelter.

    After eating, enjoy a walk on the park's jogging trail, or play a few holes of disc golf with the family. Mike Wood Memorial Park also has tennis courts if you're feeling up for a friendly game. The park has a river view, which makes for some nice family photos.

  4. Betty Virginia Park: 3901 Fairfield Ave., Shreveport, LA 71106
    Betty Virginia Park is a small neighborhood park that's great for kids. You can have a picnic in the dedicated picnic area, nicely shaded by trees. Then, the kids can spend time on the modern playground, with plastic tunnels, several slides, and a climbing wall.

    Betty Virginia Park also has baseball and softball fields. Even if you don't play yourself, watching a local game while you're picnicking can be fun.

  5. East Kings Highway Park: 1200 E. Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71105
    East Kings Highway Park is the perfect picnic spot for families who love nature. The park offers a huge duck pond where you can see ducks swimming, bobbing for fish or food, and playing in the water. There's also a modern playground where kids can play.

    East Kings Highway Park has a short pedestrian path winding through it. There are several benches where you can stop, take a break, and perhaps snap a photo or two to remember your picnic.

From the Red River to its natural tree cover, the Shreveport and Bossier City area has many great views to enjoy during picnics. Stop by one of the parks above for a meal in nature, and enjoy. Contact us if you're still looking for a home nearby. We'd love to tell you more about our real estate services.

August
10

(August 11, 2022) Sydney Done has joined Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 real estate brokerage in Northwest Louisiana. 

"I chose to become a real estate agent because everyone deserves quality representation from someone willing to go above and beyond for them in one of life's biggest events - purchasing and/or selling a home. I knew that becoming a real estate agent would allow me to provide others with this level of care. I wanted to be a part of the process of helping others begin the rest of their lives in a home that would provide them with valuable memories. There is no greater joy than knowing that I will get to spend the rest of my life helping my community create the lives they deserve."

Sydney is no stranger to helping others: She served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a combat medic specialist. Outside of the U.S. Army Reserves, Sydney has worked as a Certified Nurse Assistant and has volunteered much of her time to Heifer International (a non-profit that helps end world hunger), March of Dimes and Walk MS.

When she is not working in real estate or helping others, she enjoys spending time with her two small children, cooking, reading, writing, and creating abstract art.  She is also working towards mastering her Spanish so that she can better serve the people in our community. 

You may contact Sydney at 737.281.4074 or you can email her at thesydneydone@gmail.com

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

August
9

Upsize or Downsize: Which is Your Best Move?

Deciding if it is time for your family to upsize or downsize is not always a clear choice. There are factors to consider that might push you to take the leap or stay put for a while longer. Whether you are thinking about upsizing so your family can spread out or purging possessions so you can downsize, here are some questions to ponder.

1. How are you using your current space?

Do your family members feel like they don't have adequate privacy or space to do their own thing?  Are you tired of working at the dining table and really need an office or workshop? Is having the kids share bedrooms just not working out? Maybe an upsize is warranted. On the other hand, do you have rooms that aren't being used, or are you tired of paying property taxes on more house than you need? Check for the downsize column!

2. Have you considered the maintenance costs?

If upsizing is on your mind, consider the added costs for maintaining a larger home and property, whether in money or time. Will you be able to keep up with cleaning, lawn care, and general maintenance issues that come with owning a home? If you are ready to cross maintenance off your to-do list, perhaps you are ready to downsize to a more manageable property or one where the HOA handles part of the job.

3. What are your outdoor space needs?

Are you ready to give up having a yard or garden to downsize to a maintenance-free space? Do you have pets that need outdoor space? Do you need more outdoor space for your children to play or your dog to run around in? The size of the house is one thing, but the property is important also.

4. Have you looked to the future?

What do you expect your needs to be in the next five, ten, or twenty years? Do you want a large home where your children and grandchildren will come for vacations and holidays, or will you be spending those times at their homes? Will you want to entertain groups of friends, or do you foresee going out for your entertainment? What will happen if your spouse passes; will you want to stay in the home on your own?

5. Do the financial implications add up in your favor?

Can you handle the higher costs involved with a larger home, or are you ready to cut costs with a downsize? Consider where you stand on your current mortgage. Are you alright with starting a new mortgage at this point in your life, or are you in a position to purchase in cash? What are the tax implications for your move?  

6. Is it the right market to upsize or downsize?

A seller's market is hot for those looking to sell a larger home and downsize. Upsizing may be riskier in a big seller's market, but if your family would be happier in a larger home, it might be worth the leap.

Whatever questions you have about purchasing your next home, one of our experienced agents be honored to assist you. So let's work together to make sure your next move is the right one!

August
8

Is It Time To Break Up With Your Home?

Remember the first time you laid eyes on your home? Your jaw dropped at the beautiful front yard. You were amazed at how all those windows sparkled as you walked up to the door. After you moved in, you thanked your lucky stars for sending you your dream home. You loved your house when you first bought it and knew you would live there forever. Wait a minute... Forever? That's an awfully long time to live at the same address. Here's what to do when you think you've fallen out of love with your home. 

There are different reasons people fall out of love with their dream homes. The good news is more often than not, it's possible to identify the issue and fall back in love with your home all over again.

Before selling your home, you need to answer a few questions:

  • Have you really given your house a chance?
  • Would you fall back in love with your house if you invested a little into some home improvement projects?
  • Is the house the problem, or are you secretly dissatisfied with your life and laying the blame on your home?

If you've only been in your house for a few months, it's likely that you haven't actually fallen out of love with the place but are simply suffering from either a case of buyer's remorse or feelings of being unsettled. In this situation, the best thing to do is give things some more time. The chances are good that you'll relax and fall in love with your home all over again. If you discover that your emotional detachment from your house stems from it needing work or remodeling, you need to come to a few decisions. You can choose to invest the time and money into making the improvements your happiness relies on, or speak to a real estate agent about selling your home. It's important to note that sometimes finding your dream home means making improvements.

If you decide that it's not your house but rather something else triggering your sense of dissatisfaction, look around the community. You may find that it holds the secret to helping you feel fulfilled. The odds are that there are volunteering opportunities and clubs near your home to help you fill up your life and feel happier.

If you absolutely can't stand the idea of spending any more time in your house, then it's time to talk to a real estate agent about selling your house. When shopping for a new house, remember the issues that caused you to fall out of love with your house and avoid those pitfalls with your next purchase.

When you decide that selling your home is the best solution, always make sure you deal with a real estate agent you trust to get you the best price for the home.

August
5

Buying Your First Home Might Be Closer Than You Think

Buying a house is one of the biggest parts of the American dream, but that doesn't mean you have to wait for it your whole life. If you take the right steps, you can start on the path to homeownership right now.


Each step builds on the last, and you'll learn more about your needs and challenges as you go. If you run into something you need to reassess, advice is a call or email away. Real estate agents help first-time buyers like you every day.


Here's how to get off to a good start when buying a house:

  1. Work on Building Your Credit
    Strengthening your credit can help you get a better interest rate on your mortgage and may save you thousands of dollars. Aim to pay off (but not close!) any high-interest credit accounts you may have. Don't start on any new financial obligations, such as a car loan.
  2. Gather Financial Information
    Any loan provider you work with will want details of your financial situation. That usually includes three months of pay stubs and two years of tax filings. If you are self-employed or your income varies for other reasons, you may need to submit a longer income history. If you have past issues such as bankruptcies or charge-offs, prepare to explain them.
  3. Develop a Budget
    Tally up your monthly expenses and income sources to figure out how much disposable income you'll have for home expenses. You might find costs you can cut so you can save for your down payment. Remember, you shouldn't spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing.
  4. Talk to a Real Estate Agent
    Before you talk to a lender, reach out to a real estate agent you can trust. He or she will help you get clear on your needs and develop realistic expectations for the process. A real estate agent will be your best ally throughout the process, answering your questions and steering you toward the resources you need to get to closing day without a hitch.
  5. Get Prequalified for a Loan
    Prequalification is a process where you submit financial information to your lender of choice so a loan package can be issued as soon as you need it. This is essential if you are dealing with "motivated sellers" or putting in a bid on a home that has attracted a lot of prospective buyers.
  6. Assess Your "Must Haves"
    It's time to start making your dreams a reality. Everyone who will be living in the home should come up with a list of five features that they most want from it. Although it's hard to find a perfect home, this will help you zoom in on areas where everyone agrees. You'll also know at a glance which properties don't match your priorities, saving you time.
  7. Compare Homes and Neighborhoods
    This is where your real estate agent shines. He or she should get you off to a running start with a list of neighborhoods that suit you. From there, make time every weekend to attend open houses, tour properties, and look at current listings. You can do it!
  8. Get a Home Inspection
    A home inspection gives you a complete report on the home's condition from top to bottom. Most buyers choose to walk away from homes with electrical, plumbing, or pest issues, and mortgage programs for first-time buyers will not finance homes with certain serious defects.

Buying a house is a lot to wrap your mind around at first, but it's easier than it looks. 

August
3

Is It Time To Replace Your Windows? These Are The Top Signs

Next to your home's outer envelope and insulation, your windows are the biggest factor in reducing heating and cooling costs. When windows are warped or damaged, a huge amount of thermal energy can be lost through them in a single day. The total cost of faulty windows may total in the hundreds or even thousands per year if several windows have issues.

Watch for these five signs that it may be time to replace those windows:

  1. You Notice Windows Are Damaged, Warped, or Broken
    Sometimes, damage to a window might be very superficial. If all the window needs are some new weather stripping, for example, you might invest in repairing it. In most cases, however, simply replacing the window provides the most value in the long run. This is especially true for warped or broken windows that will contribute to higher energy bills and a greater likelihood of accidents.

  2. Your Energy Bills Are Creeping Up
    No matter what kind of climate you live in, most homes have a steady rhythm in terms of their energy needs. You might find yourself cranking the air conditioning to cool down or warm up during peak seasons, but changes in your bills should be predictable. Energy bills that gradually increase are a sign that your heater or AC must work harder to maintain temperatures. Time for home improvement.

  3. You Want to Increase Your Home's Value
    Relatively minor repairs and replacements, like windows, can become a sticking point for buyers. When they think "move-in ready," they want to imagine that everything will be perfect. Even if the home is in good condition, it's a great idea to take care of superficial issues like this: If you don't, potential buyers might wonder what else might have gone wrong around the home.

  4. You've Been Through a Major Weather Event
    No matter whether it's a winter blizzard, a tornado, or a hurricane, it's usually best to replace the windows afterward. Even windows that appear unscathed after a storm might develop mold, water damage, or other issues that can go unnoticed at first. At the very least, replacing the windows will help ensure the home is structurally sound when the next storm rolls in.

  5. You Want to Restore Your Home's Historic Charm
    It's not unusual for the owners of historic homes to replace old-fashioned windows for various reasons: For example, concerns about the use of lead paint. However, it's important to make sure the replacement windows fit in with the architecture and aesthetic charm of the house. Budget replacement windows should be upgraded – modern technology can still be stylish.

It's easy to overlook the importance of your home's windows, but be sure to "check in" with them every few months. Make sure they offer a tight seal when closed and are free from minor defects that can develop into more serious problems with time and use.

If you are happy with how your windows perform but still want to curb energy loss in your home, consider installing energy-efficient windows. These windows typically consist of multiple panes of glass with the space between filled with air or gas.

This can be the perfect way to appeal to buyers: You get to be friendly to the environment and budget-conscious at the same time. That's a great selling point for an upgrade that may cost as little as a hundred dollars, depending on your local market.

Next time you think "home improvement," think windows first!

August
2

Run Don't Walk! 5 Things to Do When You Find a House You Love

Sometimes, you just know. Perhaps it's the location, the layout of the home, the backyard, or more likely a combination of many factors. But when you know that a home is the one, it's time to get serious about buying a house you love. Before you can make a competitive offer, it pays to be prepared. That's why you should do these five things when you find a house that you love.

  1. Arrange a Showing to See the Home Firsthand
    With detailed listings, neighborhood guides, property photographs, and more, it's easy to fall in love with a house online. But there's still no substitute for a full tour. If possible, arrange a showing so that you can tour the home in person before you get serious about making an offer. If a showing isn't possible, see if there is a virtual tour or virtual open house available. Getting as much information as possible is critical when buying a home.
  2. Make Sure That Your Finances Are in Order
    Buying a house is so much easier when you prepare your finances in advance, and that starts with your credit score. In the past, you could request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus annually, and use what you learn to improve your score. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, are now offering free credit reports to all Americans on a weekly basis through April 2021 so you can protect your financial health. These free credit reports will be available on www.annualcreditreport.com.

    Pay off old debts, and avoid opening new lines of credit before securing a mortgage and buying a house. Save as much as possible for your down payment, to increase the appeal of your offer and keep mortgage payments as low as possible.
  3. Develop a Competitive Offer
    Once you've gotten an up-close impression and decided that this home is the one, it's time to create an offer that catches the seller's attention. Having pre-approval for a mortgage, or better yet, being fully underwritten upfront – is a must for buying a house. Beyond that, in a competitive market, you will want to make a serious offer that comes close to the buyer's asking price, as long as the asking price is reasonable for the current market. A low-ball offer is likely to be ignored and may cause the seller to take you out of the bidding entirely.
  4. Request a Home Inspection to Identify Underlying Issues
    No matter how much you love a property, you should always have it inspected before buying a house. The inspection may reveal hidden maintenance issues that need to be addressed, and the cost of repairs will have an impact on your final offer. In extreme cases, an inspection can uncover serious issues that may make you reconsider buying a house, but typically the cost of repairs can be covered in negotiations.
  5. Consider a Personal Touch to Supplement Your Bid
    While the financial nuts and bolts of your offer have the most significant influence when buying a house, some sellers are also looking for a buyer who truly loves the home and will work to improve it. Sending a personal letter to let the seller know exactly why you love the house and how it fits your family can help tilt the competition in your favor.

Every negotiation is unique when buying a house, but taking the right steps after falling in love is key to landing your dream home. Learn as much as you can about the property; make sure your finances are in order and make an offer that separates you from other buyers.

August
1

What Every First-Time Seller Should Know

You might think selling a home is similar to buying one, but they actually have little in common. Buying a house for the first time is something that many of us look forward to throughout our lives. No matter how much you love your first home, there will likely come a day when you're ready to move on to something new.

Selling your home is a totally different experience from buying a home. Buying a home involves feelings and sentiments, while selling one centers on dollars and cents. However cut and dry the selling experience might seem, there is still a period of confusion involved in the selling process. Many first-time home sellers have no idea where to start. Here are some of the most important tips for first-time home sellers to help you get started.

Just as with buying a home for the first time, you can remove a lot of the mystery from the equation by taking the time to read, study and learn. There's a lot to learn from your real estate agent and other experienced home sellers. Since you're here, it's safe to say you're already taking steps in that direction.

  1. Set a Reasonable Price
    The value of a home is not set in a vacuum, and market factors play an important role in setting the right price. Ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA breaks down the value of your home in great detail, along with the market history of homes in your area. Understanding the realities of the local real estate market is crucial in setting a price that is as attractive for buyers as it is for your budget.

  2. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent
    Working with a real estate agent you can trust will make life much easier when it's time to sell your home. A skilled agent will help you set the right price, attract the right buyers, and find a deal that works for everyone involved. If you enjoyed working with the agent who helped you purchase the home, now is a great time to rekindle that relationship.

  3. Major Marketing
    Identifying the right buyer is much easier when you do what's necessary to help the right buyer find you. Work with an agent who understands how social media, email marketing, and search engine marketing fit into the modern real estate purchasing process. A bit of targeted marketing is key to reaching the right audience.

  4. Consider Curb Appeal – No matter how great the interior of your home looks, it's the exterior that makes the first impression. Add curb appeal by updating your landscaping, keeping your yard as clean as possible, and putting a fresh coat of paint on areas that need it. You want them to be impressed from the moment they arrive. Be sure to tidy up and declutter inside too.

  5. Prepare to Compromise – If you're holding out for the deal that checks every single item on your priority list, you may be in for a long wait. The selling process has the same give-and-take as the buying process, so you may need to compromise in some areas to get what you want in others. Consider the areas where you're willing to compromise as you get started with the process, and you'll be better prepared to make a deal.

One advantage of selling your home for the first time is that you'll likely have experience sitting on the other side of the table as a buyer, so you'll already have some idea of what to expect. With a willingness to keep learning and the help of an experienced real estate agent, you'll be ready to tackle the process of selling your home for the first time.

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