• CHANGE RESULTS VIEW
  • SORT BY

Date Archives: September 2022

Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Home Buyer Tips | 63 Posts
Home Seller Tips | 73 Posts
Homeowner Tips | 55 Posts
Moving Tips | 3 Posts
Press Release | 13 Posts
Shreveport, LA | 5 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts
September
30

Enjoy Nature with a Hike Around the SBC

Fall is bringing some milder weather to the Shreveport-Bossier City area, and it's a great time of year to head outside and enjoy nature. We have some truly exceptional hiking trails in our little corner of Louisiana, and our real estate agents are excited to share some of their favorite hikes in and around Shreveport.

  • Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park - 8012 Par Rd. 4, Shreveport, LA 71107
    There may be no better place to reconnect with the natural world in Shreveport than Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park. This 160-acre preserve is located just a short drive from these Shreveport homes for sale and features a nature center and outdoor aviary for birds of prey. Five miles of hiking trails meander through the park's landscape of rich oak-pine-hickory forest, providing a wild getaway close to the city. This is a great place to not only explore but also learn more about Louisiana's plant and animal life. 

  • Red River National Wildlife Refuge - 150 Eagle Bend Point, Bossier City, LA 71112
    Nestled between the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway and a gentle bend on the Red River, the beautiful Red River National Wildlife Refuge offers a truly wild and unique experience. Although it's just minutes from these Bossier City homes for sale, the refuge maintains its truly wild character, with three hiking trails totaling 8 miles that traverse woods, wetlands, and meadows. The trails are clearly marked with various colored blazes and cover mostly easy terrain. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed at all times. 

  • Ford Park - 5784 S Lakeshore Dr., Shreveport, LA 71119
    Shreveport's Ford Park is best known for its disc golf course and boat launch facilities on Cross Lake. But this picturesque 85-acre park is also a great place to take a hike. Ford Park features a 1.6-mile loop trail that winds through shady woods and lawns and is a popular spot for walking and jogging. The trail usually takes just 30 minutes to complete, making it a great option when you want to squeeze in a quick hike but have limited time. 

  • Lake Bistineau State Park - 103 State Park Rd., Doyline, LA 71023
    Just a 30-minute drive from Shreveport-Bossier City, Lake Bistineau State Park spans a wild landscape of hardwood forests overlooking the banks of its namesake lake. Several trails are available, including a beautiful 6.4-mile loop that takes hikers from the lakeshore into the depths of the forest. It's an easy hike with minimal elevation gain, making it great for hikers of all ages and fitness levels. Leashed pets are welcome, and the full loop usually takes a little over 2 hours to complete. Lake Bistineau is also a popular fishing destination where anglers enjoy catches of crappie, largemouth bass, and catfish. 

  • Arthur Ray Teague Parkway Trail - Bossier City, LA 71112
    Following the banks of the Red River south of Bossier, the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway Trail offers one of the best easy, close-to-home hikes in the city. Stretching about 6.5 miles in length, the trail is paved and level, making it an easy and accessible walk. Hiking, cycling, and jogging are all popular ways to experience this trail, which offers some lovely scenery along the river. Several parks and picnic areas along the way are great for taking a break, and multiple trailheads make it easy to hop on and off the trail at various points. 

Contact us today to learn more about living in Louisiana. If you're looking for your dream home, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find it in Shreveport, Bossier City, and the surrounding areas. 

September
28

Ring in the New Year in a New Home

Are you looking for a fresh start in 2023? You can ring in the new year in a new home if you start now. The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, especially when it comes to selling your home and making a move.

Here are some of the best reasons to consider selling your home during the holiday season:

Lower Inventory
There are typically fewer homes on the market during the holidays, so there's less competition from other sellers to attract buyers. And if you're also looking to buy, you can be assured that sellers are motivated to close by the end of the year.

Timing is Everything
Whether they're moving for a new job or a new school, end-of-year house hunters are more likely to be motivated and committed to making a strong offer.

Faster Closing
With the end of the year approaching, everyone involved in the transaction is eager to wrap up the closing process as soon as possible.

It's an Emotional Time
Anyone who has purchased or sold a property knows that emotions are a big part of the process. Listing your home during the holidays, where rooms look festive and inviting, can appeal to buyers' sentimentality. As the saying goes, "There's no place like home for the holidays."

If you're interested in selling, contact a Coldwell Banker® affiliated agent today, who can expertly market your home so you can get the most out of your sale. Your agent will plan open houses and showings around your schedule, so it doesn't get in the way of your holiday celebrations.

With motivated buyers making strong offers, the market can work in your favor during the holiday season – don't miss your chance to earn a great return on your investment.

September
27

How To Sell Your Home Despite Those Problem Neighbors

You've scrubbed every surface, trimmed the hedges to perfection, and baked some cookies to make your home smell warm and inviting, but there's a problem.

Every time someone comes to view the house you're trying to sell, the first thing they notice is the unkempt mess next door. 

If you're selling your home, you have enough to worry about without adding troublesome neighbors to the mix, but sometimes life just isn't fair. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can smooth things out with your neighbors and get back to more important things — like selling your home.

  • Be Nice, But Firm
    When bringing a complaint to your neighbor's attention, it's always best to start out by being calm and friendly but also firm. Approach your neighbors as if they have no idea that they're causing a problem, and work from there to find a solution.

    Taking legal action should never be anything but a last resort, partly because it can make your relationship with your neighbors even tenser, but also because courts seldom provide a timely solution. You don't want to be tied up in legal wranglings for months while your house sits on the market.

  • Noise Problems
    Noise complaints are the most common problems that cause tension between neighbors. Again, set out with a friendly demeanor, and assume that your neighbors haven't realized how much of a headache they've been causing. Stop by and have a chat about the issue, and offer to work together to reach a solution.

    Visit again if the noise continues to be a problem. If the noise persists, follow up with a written warning (in as friendly a manner as possible). You might also want to enclose a copy of the local noise ordinance. Threaten legal action only as a last resort if the written warning doesn't work.

  • Upkeep Issues
    When your neighbors don't take care of their property, it doesn't show your house in the best light. In this case, you do have another option if a friendly request to make improvements doesn't generate any results.

    This problem can often be alleviated by offering your own services to clean up the neighbor's property. If you don't have the time to tackle it yourself, offer to have a professional come by to cut the grass, pack up any trash, and generally make your neighbors' property a little easier on the eyes.

  • Full Disclosure
    If there's a problem with your neighbor, you may be wondering what your responsibility is when it comes to disclosing the issue to potential buyers. Obviously, you don't want to scare buyers away, but you most likely have a legal obligation to tell prospective buyers about ongoing disputes with neighbors. When in doubt, always disclose.

Selling your home is hard work, so don't let pesky neighbors hold you back. From noise problems to unruly lawns, patching things up with the folks next door will make the process of selling your home infinitely easier.

September
26

BUYER RETREAT AT THE LOWER END
By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

I'm a numbers guy. I always have been since my days at Byrd High School. I used to love when my dad Jimmy, who headed our company for many, many years, came home and talked about what was occurring with buyers and sellers – everything from the number of sales to home price increases.

I'm really lucky that my dad is still very visible in our company and we often talk about the real estate markets of today vs. yesterday. I believe our company, and are agents, are extremely well prepared for the market shift we are seeing today, largely because in our company's 60-year history and through the nearly 30-straight years of leading the Northwest Louisiana real estate market, we have lived through quite a few market shifts.

Our agents have the benefit of years of experience and understand that each market brings different buyer and seller behaviors. This knowledge is showing itself in the educated conversations we are having with our clients – and potential clients - today.

We are being proactive and transparent, sharing what is occurring today. Prior to July, our local real estate market remained in an overheated state. But in such a short time, we have seen things shift quickly, especially at the lower end of the market.

Yes, the real estate market story is now all about mortgage rates. Specifically, the rise of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to near the 6% range that has caused many to abandon their search for a home.

The rise in mortgage rates is hitting especially hard for those looking to purchase homes at the $200,000 price point and below. This makes a lot of sense. Not including fees or other payments tied to a loan, when rates were 3.0% late in 2021 and into 2022, a monthly payment on a $200,000 home was $843. At 6%, this payment jumps to $1,199. Therefore, we can understand that unfortunately there will be some unable to afford that jump.

This shows in the number of area home sales. We are down 16% year-over-year in the $100,000-and-under category and 23% in the next highest bracket.

Last August, there were 542 homes sold in Bossier, Caddo and Desoto Parishes compared to 417 last month. This was dramatically below the five-year August average of 487. Along with July, this marks the first two months since COVID hit that we have seen home sales lag behind a month's 5-year average.

And while we are now down 11% in overall sales for all of 2022, we are still on pace for this to be the second greatest sales year ever in Northwest Louisiana. Our decline is not as severe as what the National Association of Realtors recently shared for the entire nation which is off 19.9% in sales to an annualized rate of 4.8 million.

The below chart for all of 2022 shows, the retreat is not as pronounced at the higher levels. Again, this makes sense. While those with larger incomes may not be happy with higher rates, they seemingly are able to be able to afford a higher monthly payment.

Price Range

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

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

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

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

Total

3,652 (-11%)

1,500 (-8%)

2,026 (-14%)

126 (-2%)

$100,000 & less

504 (-16%)

    121 (-8%)

365 (-19%)

18 (-14%)

$100,000-$200,000

1,496 (-23%)

358 (-25%)

754 (-23%)

34 (-26%)

$200,000-$300,000

1,194 (-6%)

551 (-7%)

539 (-6%)

    27 (+4%)

$300,000-$400,000

468 (+4%)

292 (+5%)

169 (0%)

24 (+20%)

$400,000-$500,000

219 (+7%)

118 (+13%)

88 (-2%)

13 (+18%)

$500,000-
$600,000

88 (+35%)

    35 (+21%)

45 (+29%)

8 (+700%)

$600,000+

93 (+26%)

25 (+32%)

66 (+27%)

2 (100%)

Let's look a bit closer into just August sales to see exactly where the high mortgage rates are having an impact. As you can see, overall there were 30 fewer sales last month compared to a typical August (2018). But the market was off by 75 in the below $200,000 range. Yet in every other price point, we are dramatically higher, a theme that has repeatedly played out since the pandemic began.

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out. We would expect that if there are fewer sales at the lower end of the market, that could create a lack of move-up buyers into the mid-range and above, and the higher price points might see a decline.

Price Range

August 2022 Sales

August 2018 Sales

Total

417

447

$100,000 & less

40

91

$100,000-$200,000

123

147

$200,000-$300,000

123

117

$300,000-$400,000

67

41

$400,000-$500,000

31

16

$500,000+

24

6

There is another thing that usually happens when market corrections like this occur. The number of homes on the market will rise. We are starting to see this happen, although we still have a long way to go to get back to traditional inventory levels. Yes, we have jumped from a record-low 667 available homes back in April to 1,032 today, but our monthly supply is still incredibly low at just 2.2 months overall. It was 5.4 months prior to COVID which was a solidly balanced market where neither buyer nor seller had a negotiating advantage.

Today, we remain in a seller's market – still far from the 5–6-month supply that equals balance in Northwest Louisiana. Remember, our inventory is much lower than what NAR shared about the nation overall where there are currently 1.28 million homes on the market which equates to a 3.2-month supply. It was 2.6 months last August.

Based on the below chart, it appears that while our inventory is rising, the demand – even if it is lower – is still strong enough. Homes that come on the market are still selling quickly. A year ago, homes were selling in an unheard of eight days. Today, we have jumped to 12 days, which is still off-the-charts low.

Price Range

August 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

August 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply

Total

1,023/2.1

2,247/5.8

$100,000 & less

211/3.3

466/4.9

$100,000-$200,000

259/1.7

726/4.5

$200,000-$300,000

232/1.6

503/5.5

$300,000-$400,000

125/2.1

266/8.9

$400,000-$500,000

71/2.7

122/12.4

$500,000+

126/5.8

166/24.6

Nationally, 81% of homes that sold in August come off the market within 30 days with most doing so in 16 days, one day more than a year ago. Here is a full look at how we compare to the national scene.

 

U.S.

(change over August '21)

Northwest LA

(change over August '21)

Median Price

$389,500/+7.7%

$235,000/+16%

Number of Sales

4.80 million/-19.9%
(annualized)

417/-23%

Inventory

1.28 million/unchanged

1,032/+8%

Month Supply

3.2/2.6

2.2/1.9

Median Days on Market

16/17

12/8

I brought a new set of stats into the blog last month and want to revisit the updated Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). Every month since 2010, Fannie Mae showcases what buyers think about buying and sellers about selling.

It's interesting that buyers believe that rising interest rates benefit them as the HPSI shows an uptick in positive responses on the "Good Time to Buy" column. That suggests surveyed potential buyers think that if rates rise and some retreat, that will slow the pace of the market, reduce multiple bids on a home and therefore greater opportunity.

Sellers were not as thrilled with the market changes as August showed the least confidence among potential sellers this year. Obviously, there is disappointment that we have moved from the top of the market:

Date

Good Time to Buy

Good Time to Sell

August

22%

59%

July

17%

67%

June

20%

68%

May

17%

76%

April

19%

72%

March

24%

74%

February

29%

72%

January

25%

69%

While market stats give insight into our local housing market, it is important to remember that people will always buy homes. While COVID allowed many to leave urban centers for more affordable surroundings and others "moved up," we may enter a more traditional market where people move because of life events – engagement, marriage, children, promotions, new jobs, and other moments.

Therefore, I want to provide some suggestions to both buyers and sellers:

  • Sellers: You remain in the negotiating driver's seat. While you may have missed the absolute top of the market, prices remain strong. You likely have seen your home equity increase dramatically over the course of owning your home. Homes that are priced right and in good condition are selling at a strong pace. We are also seeing the list-to-price ratio remain at 98% meaning that they are selling within 2% of the list price. Clearly, sellers and their agents are choosing the correct listing price that buyers can meet. If we see that number drift down quickly, that might indicate an unexpectedly fast shifting market.

Sellers are benefitting in an interesting way in today's market when they enter the buying phase. In many markets around the nation, the inventory levels are increasing at a swifter pace than here, giving buyers more options than they had months ago. Our agents are helping connect many sellers – and potential sellers – to great agents in their next destination so that they can get questions answered.

  • Buyers: I encourage you not to panic because of the rising mortgage rates. Not only will our agents provide you excellent counsel and represent you well, but they can also help answer your mortgage questions and connect you to a great mortgage professional including those at Fairway Mortgage. Remember, there are different ways to finance your home outside of the rising 30-year-fixed rate mortgage. This lending option was great when rates were at historically-low levels and you could lock in for years to come. But in other years, in other markets, buyers turned to other types of loans. And that is what is occurring today.

It's also important to remember that home prices will likely not return to pre-pandemic levels. Instead, the rate of increase will slow from the double-digit price gains we had over the last couple of years to more traditional numbers.

I want to close this month's blog by encouraging ALL who are considering buying or selling a home today to start the process by talking to one of our Coldwell Banker Gosslee agents. While there is a lot of information available today, no national site or news outlet can properly explain what is happening here. Our agents are incredibly skilled at knowing what is happening community-by-community and neighborhood-by-neighborhood.

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

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

September
23

5 Simple Ideas for Fall Home Makeovers

Whether your fall interior design aesthetic is spooky, sophisticated or somewhere in between, it's the ideal moment to implement some fresh ideas to spectacularly enjoy the season. If you're ready to deck out your home for fall, here are five easy, creative ways to infuse fall colors and textures into your décor:

Add Seasonal Wreaths

Not only do fall wreaths add beauty to your front door, they can also add a touch of the season inside your home. Try a playful twist on the traditional fall palette with unique "statement" fall wreaths, which are a must-have this fall. For the crafty, DIY wreaths are a whimsical way to add some vibrancy to your usual autumn décor. Remember, wreaths are versatile! Display a colorful wreath as a table centerpiece or hang it from a pretty ribbon to enjoy it from a different perspective.

Update Pillows

Switch out summer pillows in lightweight fabrics in your family or living rooms for luxe, velvet ones in rich, fall shades. Think burgundy, cinnamon or caramel velvets and warm brown brocades, or classic fall colors in strong hues like burnt orange or exotic chinoiserie red.

Swap Out Rugs

Change area rugs throughout your home, replacing lightweight summer jute rugs with thick, plush rugs in rustic, autumn colors to make rooms look and feel warmer.

Add Flowers

Create a beautiful fall table with distressed and repurposed containers filled with your favorite fall lowers and dark-hued berries. Or make a cornucopia of fall colors by arranging autumn blooms on a chic serving tray. Mimic nature's fall transformation by introducing dried floral arrangements into your home – adding a rustic vibe to match the season. Add some beautiful fall-colored flowers, like mums or cockscombs, to your front porch or patio.

Cozy Up Outdoors

Make the most of fall's cooler evenings by creating a small conversation area around a firepit on the deck or in the backyard. Bring out a few pillows and autumn-inspired throws for the chairs and keep a large basket nearby so you can easily bring the linens indoors if inclement weather threatens.

These are just a few of the many ways to fill your home with autumn beauty without overhauling your holiday décor stash.

September
20

What You Can Learn From Price Per Square Foot

While asking price is usually the primary number buyers consider during the home shopping process, it's not the only cost-related figure you should consider. You'll notice most home listings also mention the cost per square foot. While this metric can be helpful, it's important to keep it in perspective.

When comparing two homes, the price per square foot and the total square feet will simply tell you which home offers more space at a cheaper price. However, this metric on its own isn't very useful. But when you're able to compare it against a larger sample size of nearby homes, you might be able to learn a bit more.

Calculating Averages and Medians
To determine the true value of a price per square foot figure, you need a good sample size to compare it to. The average price per square foot and the median price per square foot can be helpful when putting things into perspective.

  • Average Price Per Square Foot: The square foot cost of each sold home within a specific geography and timeframe divided by the total number of homes sold. With averages, one or two high-priced homes can skew the average.
  • Median Price Per Square Foot: The median is the true middle value between the highest price per square foot and the lowest price per square foot within a specific sample size. The median offers a better "middle ground" benchmark than the average.

The average and median cost per square foot can give you a good idea of how hot a local real estate market is within a particular neighborhood. You can easily find these metrics on most popular real estate websites.

One thing that makes calculating an average cost per square foot difficult is the lack of universal or standard laws that dictate how the figure is calculated. As a result, some homeowners may factor in unfinished basements or attics while others do not.

Why Price Per Square Foot Is Useful
Comparing the price per square foot on a listing to the average or median price per square foot within a specific area can give you additional insight into whether the home is appropriately priced relative to its size.

If the cost per square foot is above the local median, you could potentially use this as negotiating leverage. If the price per square foot is significantly lower than the median, the home might be a great deal.

Price Per Square Foot Isn't Everything
Price per square foot is just one of many factors to consider when evaluating a home. While it can tell you the price in relation to the size of the property, remember that not all homes are the same. Homes vary by features, amenities, features, and dozens of other factors that can drastically impact the sale price.

Price per square foot is an important consideration, but be sure to keep things in perspective. Your real estate agent can help you evaluate all factors of a particular property to determine if it's priced fairly and if there is any room for negotiation.

September
19

Retiring Soon? How To Decide If You Should Sell Your Home

Selling your home upon retirement is a question millions of people grapple with. While it might seem logical to scale down when you retire, is it really the best option? 

There's no "one size fits all" solution for selling your home. Most people will find there are pros and cons to the choice they have to weigh before making a decision.

  • Pro: Selling Can Give You Retirement Income
    If you've worked hard to build equity in your house, selling it could be exactly the step you need to take to ensure a comfortable retirement. Plus, if you've been living in the home consistently in recent years, you may be eligible to shield much of the sale's proceeds from taxation. This can be the solution for retirees who find themselves without enough savings.

  • Pros: Selling Means Fewer Recurring Costs
    No matter how well-maintained your home is, there'll always be costs involved in keeping it running. Your HVAC system, plumbing, electrical wiring, and much more can all fail without much warning. By selling, you avoid all these inevitable challenges of home ownership. Plus, you may find that you can reduce the overall costs of your utilities.

  • Pros: Selling May Mean More Accessible Accommodations
    With age, many people face security and safety concerns they did not have in their youth. One of the most serious ones is the risk of a serious slip and fall, particularly when your home has many stairs. The cost of remodeling a home to make it more comfortable in retirement may be greater than what you are willing to invest in your retirement income.

  • Pros: Selling May Mean More Flexibility in Retirement
    Your desires in retirement might be very different from what you wanted from your home years or decades ago. You might want to move closer to relatives, for example, get into a community more in keeping with your needs, or even move to another country. In all these situations and more, maintaining your home can make it harder for you to focus on the present.

  • Cons: Renting May Not Be Worth It
    One of the biggest questions about selling is whether it makes financial sense. While your home might be appreciating in value, the cost of rent in your community is probably rising as well. If you know where you want to live after selling, take a close look at the nearby housing and the financial resources it will take for you to live comfortably there.

  • Cons: Sentimental Value Matters
    By the time they reach retirement, many people have spent decades in one home. There's simply no way to put a price on the sentimental value such a property can offer. It may make more sense to keep the home in the family if you consider it an important part of your legacy. This may be a matter to bring up with adult children or others with a close connection to the place.

  • Cons: It May Not Be the Right Time for Selling Your Home
    If your home is appreciating in value — or a minor improvement could substantially raise its sale price — it may be worth it to wait a little longer before making your move. In a "seller's market," a delay of just three months can make a big difference in what you can expect from your sale. If conditions are ideal, it may make sense to wait six months or even another year.

Ultimately, selling your home is a deeply personal decision. It's best made with input from a real estate agent you can rely on.

September
19

(September 19, 2022) Sandi Martin has joined Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 Real Estate firm in Northwest Louisiana.

"I have a great empathy and understanding for people. My heart is with serving people. Everything I have done in my career has been in a field of service. As a Realtor in Texas for many years, my reputation was one of dedication and perseverance and I have maintained that attitude for all the years to follow. My friends and family would tell you that I just refuse to give up. For every problem there is a solution."

"I love being a Realtor because it gives me an opportunity to meet many different people. I believe that being a Realtor is not about selling houses, but rather about helping people achieve their goals, drams and ambitions. Home ownershiop is such an important part of our heritage and being able to assist folks in the buy/sell process is just about the greatest occupation in the world."

Sandi has lived her life helping others. Not only has she helped so many families find home; she has also fostered about 25 children and was part of the Bossier Parish School Board for 10 years with English skills enhancement.

Sandi and her husband live on Lake Bistineau in a house that has been in her husbands family for over 60 years. She is enamored with the natural beauty and easy-going lifestyle of Louisiana. Sanid is a strong supporter of programs to help maintain our natural beauty while working hand in hand with industries that thirve here. She currently serves on the Lake Bistineau Advisory Committee.

She has a large family and her children have attended college everywhere from UT Austin, Texas A&M, La Tech, ULM, and LSU - so "football season is interesting at our house and our sofa looks like a rainbow of school colors"! She is also proud to say that she has a large family and has 10 grandchildren - with the eldest being a sophmore in college and the youngest at 6 months.

You may contact Sandi at (318)205-2051 or email at sandimartin.cbg@gmail.com

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

September
16

6 Easy DIY Projects To Boost Your Home's Value

Home improvement is the key to enhancing your home's value and increasing its ever-elusive curb appeal.

Of course, you probably already know that, but what you might not know is that upgrading your property doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. The right DIY home improvement projects improve your home, add value, and bring buyers to your door.

  1. Improve Your Landscaping
    Why hire a professional landscaper? You can save money by trimming, mulching, planting, and decorating your own home into a garden showplace. With one trip to your local garden shop or hardware store, you can get everything you need to give your landscape the wow factor home buyers love.

    • Design your dream landscape, and then bring it to life.
    • Seed your lawn. Cut back overgrown bushes so buyers can see your home.
    • Add seasonal color with potted and hanging flowers.
    • Enhance your landscape with solar lights and pavers that save energy.

  2. Beautify Your Bathroom
    You spend an awful lot of time in the bathroom. It should be a beautiful sanctuary that increases your home's value, not a shabby refuge. Change your perceptions and add value with these DIY home improvement projects.

    • Install trendy light fixtures.
    • Replace your sink with a designer vanity and a marble bowl.
    • Install a copper or chrome faucet and metal-coordinated accessories.
    • Eliminate unfortunate color choices with white wall paint.

  3. Welcome Light into Your Home
    If you have large windows that allow natural light into your home, lucky you. If you don't have large windows, try these light-enhancing projects.

    • Install brighter light fixtures.
    • Paint your walls white and replace your drapes with neutral-colored blinds.
    • Remove some furniture to open up your space.

  4. Up Your Energy Efficiency
    Green technologies save money, increase home values, and reduce your carbon footprint. When a potential buyer queries your utility company about your average energy bill, they'll like what they hear. You can perform several green upgrades yourself.

    • Replace light bulbs with energy-efficient versions.
    • Replace your stove, refrigerator, and small kitchen appliances with models rated high for energy savings.
    • Install solar-powered exterior lights.
    • Repair window seals to minimize hot/cold air exchange.

  5. Modernize Your Kitchen
    Home buyers love grand spacious kitchens. Even if your kitchen isn't as big as a buyer desires, you can complete these DIY projects to make it irresistibly grand.

    • Redo your kitchen floor with trendy wood-look, gray, wide-plank, or natural wood tiles.
    • Upgrade your stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher with popular stainless steel or black steel models.
    • Install a farmhouse sink and faucet for a country modern workspace.
    • Replace your countertops with granite. You'll need someone to measure and cut the openings and a buddy to help you lift them into place.|

  6. Make Your Home Intelligent
    Guys like gadgets. Okay, ladies like gadgets too. With a little time and effort, you can make your home gadget central. Internet-connected and digitally enhanced appliances and devices give your home an intriguing, high-tech feel.

    • Install a Wi-Fi-connected refrigerator.
    • Replace your stove with an intelligent version that lets you control cooking remotely.
    • Upgrade your home security system with cameras that let you watch your home and interact with visitors wherever you are.
    • Connect your coffeemaker to your alarm clock to brew your coffee when you wake up.

With these fixes, buyers will be flocking to your property and making top offers. And remember, it's not always the costly changes that give the best ROI, so consult your real estate agent about which home improvement changes will be better suited for your home.

September
14

5 Can't Miss Tips When You're Buying A Fixer Upper

Buying a fixer-upper offers you an amazing investment opportunity and provides an endless assortment of projects for those who like to work with their hands.

No matter if you plan to flip the property quickly or live there for some time, you shouldn't cross a fixer-upper off your list when buying a house. Still, we all know that buying a house can be a complex challenge and fixer-uppers add a bit more for you to think about.

So... What do you really need to know when buying a fixer-upper?

Get off to a running start with these five tips:

  1. Start with Location
    Location is one of the most important things to think about in any home purchase. There are two strategies that may be effective here: One is the traditional "central location" that has the potential for a lot of curb appeal. The other is talked about less, but can still be a savvy choice: A more secluded and private property set back from the main road.

  2. Set Up a Sound Renovation Budget
    The perfect location can still be undercut if the needed repairs exceed your budget. The best way to get the real facts about what needs to be done is to get a complete house inspection. Then, get bids for the things you can't do yourself and figure out the cost in time and materials for those you can. When you have a figure that seems accurate, add 10% for the unexpected.

  3. Identify the Biggest Issues First
    Making repairs to the roof will not only add value but remove a major stumbling block that can easily scare potential buyers away. Working on the foundation isn't nearly as glamorous — it may add nothing at all to your future selling price — but you should double-check to see if it is necessary. What else can you look out for? Electrical, heating, and pest issues are important.

  4. Negotiate Hard
    So, you've done the calculations on what renovating your new find might cost you. Now, you can use that information as leverage in negotiating a better price. It's not unreasonable to ask for 20 percent or even 40 percent off the asking price. What other factors play in your favor? A property that's been on the market for a long time — or a good amount of cash to offer upfront.

  5. See if You Qualify for a Renovation Loan
    There are several different types of renovation loans, including the popular 203(k) loan backed by the federal government through the Federal Housing Administration. Many different banks can offer this loan as long as they follow federal rules. Homebuyers can get low-interest rates on a 203(k) and may be able to qualify even with less than perfect credit scores.

Buying a house can be the greatest step you ever take for your peace of mind, financial security, and yes — your enjoyment. The choice to make that house a fixer-upper can be considered a bold one. Still, for some people, there's simply nothing better.

Use our tips, and you'll find it's easier than you ever imagined to make the right decisions for buying a house. In just a matter of months, your very own fixer-upper could become the home of your dreams. If you go in with a clear view and realistic expectations, you can't lose!

September
13

5 Tips For Improving Your Home Security

Whether you're new to homeowning or have been a homeowner for a while, improving the security of your home is a good idea. It can provide peace of mind and help you keep your property secure while you're away. These 5 tips will help you know where to start.

  1. Upgrade your locks. The first thing you can do to improve security as a new homeowner is to change the locks. You can take this opportunity to install smart locks which allow for changing entrance codes and locking or unlocking remotely. Many even integrate with security systems to provide video. If you don't want to go with a smart lock, you can probably upgrade the standard lock on your door. Most residential locks have an ANSI rating of 3, which means you have room to upgrade to something more secure.
  2. Invest in a home security system or upgrade your current one. They can vary in price and go from basic to complex, but a security system still makes a big difference. Today's systems protect against break-ins and have plenty of other advantages that will help you improve security and provide you with peace of mind when you're away. Integration with smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and leak sensors can help avoid dangerous situations as well. You can also add cameras and home automation features to many systems, and a system may even save you money on your homeowner's insurance too.
  3. Eliminate outdoor hiding places. It's obvious you want to keep sheds, garages and other ­buildings on your property locked, but you should also have these areas decluttered and well-lit to deter anyone from snooping around your property. It's also a good idea to eliminate or prune any extra-large landscape bushes.
  4. Add or improve outdoor lighting. If you don't have outdoor lighting, adding some is a good idea. It not only deters intruders but improves outdoor safety as well. There are lots of energy-efficient options available, and you can use motion sensors or solar lighting to decrease energy costs. One of the best places to put motion-sensing lights is above your garage door, especially if you have additional cars that sit outside.
  5. Don't make your home vulnerable during home improvement projects. These projects often involve things like ladders and tools that can provide an easy route to theft. You may also be leaving areas of your home such as windows, doors, or sheds unsecured. Put away tools and ladders when not in use, and lock everything back up when you're done.

Improving your home's security isn't difficult. With these tips, a little work can go a long way to giving you the peace of mind that your home is safe.

September
12

Let's Talk About Paperwork: What You Need To Buy A Home

From securing mortgage pre-approval through your lender to closing on your new home, the process of purchasing a home involves plenty of paperwork. You can make your life much easier by being prepared. Here are some of the key documents that you may need to provide or review throughout the process of purchasing your next home.

  • Proof of Income
    In order to apply for loan pre-approval and determine how much you may be able to borrow, your lender may request a variety of documents to prove your income. These documents may include pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and retirement account statements.

  • Proof of Employment
    Your lender wants to know where your down payment will come from and verify that you will be able to pay your mortgage, so they will also request proof of employment. Documents required may include pay stubs, 1099s, and W-2s.

  • Debt Information
    Your lender will also want to be aware of any debts that you already owe, to ensure that you can pay those debts while also covering your mortgage. That could include information on student loans, car loans, and any other debts that you may be carrying.

  • Loan Estimate
    While it's not an indication of your loan status, the loan estimate that your lender is required to send by law provides a broad outline of the terms of your potential loan. It's helpful to have this document available when you're comparing loan terms from multiple lenders.

  • Loan Pre-Approval Letter
    Once you've provided your lender with all of the necessary documents, hopefully the next step will be receiving your pre-approval letter. While it doesn't mean that you've definitely secured the loan, this important piece of paperwork gives you a better idea of your budget.

  • Purchase Agreement
    Once you have found a home you love and negotiated with the seller, the purchase agreement outlines the terms of the agreement. You won't need to create this document, but you'll need to be familiar with it in order to know your responsibilities before closing.

  • Seller's Disclosure
    In some states, the seller is required to disclose any known issues with the home. The seller's disclosure, if required, provides important details on the home's history.

  • Inspection Report
    The home inspection report provides detailed information on the condition of the home. If the inspection reveals problems, you might decide to negotiate with the seller for repairs or for a credit at closing that reflects issues with the condition of the home.

  • Home Appraisal
    The home appraisal, which will typically be arranged by your lender, details the value of the home in the current real estate market. If the appraisal comes in significantly below your offer, you may have to pay the difference in cash or try to negotiate a lower price for the home.

  • Proof of Homeowner's Insurance
    Your lender won't commit to a loan without proof that you have home insurance, so you'll want to have that ready to go in order to secure your loan.

  • Government ID
    Sometimes, the simplest things are also the easiest to forget. You will need a government-issued ID like a driver's license or passport on closing day. Before closing, check that your ID isn't expired and that all of the information is up to date.

The exact documents you will need depend on your location and other factors. If you have any questions about exactly which documents will be needed in your market, your real estate agent should be a great source of advice.

September
9

(September 9, 2022) Cindy Vanhoof has joined Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 Real Estate firm in Northwest Louisiana.

"In my real estate career, I have chosen to partner with Coldwell Banker. Their professionalism, international reputation for excellence, award-winning website, and full-time marketing staff give me the edge in providing you with the kind of professionalism and personal service that I require for my clients." 

Cindy was born in Dallas, Texas, and is the youngest of 14. Growing up in a large family, her parents instilled in every one of them to love unconditionally. Cindy takes this to heart in all that she does. Having 5 brothers that served in the military, she was able to witness the common comradeship, devotion, and endurance they maintained while faced with the most challenging circumstances in their lives. Because of that, she is humbled and proud. So, for those that have served our country, she thanks you!

She is married to Matt Vanhoof, a Journeyman Lineman for IBEW International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They have one of life's greatest gifts: one daughter who is married, and two grandchildren. Cindy's hobby is ancestry research. She is amazed on the findings on what makes us resilient in life. 

"I will leverage my strategic consultive approach gained in my 16 years' experience in the following markets: Education, Healthcare, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Building service contractors, and Woman-owned businesses. With my extensive Real Estate training, we can discuss your desires and goals in either listing your property or conducting a propery search - whether it be residential or investment. When you choose me to represent you, you gain someone by your side every step of the way to capture and listen to your needs."

You may contact Cindy at (707)790-3091 or email at cindydiaz.vanhoof@gmail.com

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

September
9

Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

If you've talked to real estate agents or watched any home selling show, you know that prepping your home for potential buyers means decluttering, depersonalizing and deep cleaning. But these are only the basics, and there is so much more you can do to stage your home. Successful home staging can make a huge impact and help you get top dollar for your home.

The first thing you want to do is to appeal to as many buyers as possible. The next thing is to use these tips ensure you do.

Clutter-Free, Please

From knick-knacks to pet toys, freeing up space is the first rule of staging. Clutter can be very distracting to buyers, and you want them to be drawn to the room, not your personal belongings. It's important that buyers can envision themselves living there. Plus, extra clutter can make a room appear smaller. Baskets are excellent for throwing items in that you need but don't necessarily want out for everyone to see. Consider renting a storage unit if you require more space to store things.

 Picture This
Buyers are online, so making sure your home photographs well is vital to grabbing their interest. A professional photographer will look to windows and fireplaces as a focal point, so stage your furniture around that. It's important not to block windows and remove unnecessary furniture so the photos are all about the room, not your personal things.

Call In the Experts

You can save valuable time by calling an expert. Hiring a professional stager or interior decorator is a smart way to make sure every room in your house shines. They can also save you a great deal of money, time and energy. Since they bring a third-party view to your home, they can focus on helping your property appeal to a wide variety of buyers. And if it sells your home faster and for more, it's totally worth it.

Neglecting Your Outdoor Space

Sellers are often so focused on the inside of their home that they forget to also stage the outside. This includes your front and back yards. Think of a patio or deck space as an extension of your living space and add furniture that best fits it. Maybe a bistro style table and chairs are perfect for dining on a small city balcony, whereas a large outdoor sofa and chair is great for a sociable family household.

Lighting is Key

A bright and airy room can make all the difference, so make sure you think about how each room is lit. You really want to maximize a room's natural light with window treatments that let plenty of light in. One way to boost brightness is to pay attention to curtain placement. Many designers will tell you to hang your curtains two inches from the ceiling as this helps make the windows seem bigger and the room taller, which are two big positives. Think about changing outdated lighting fixtures and brighter bulbs. Updates to ceiling lighting and those in your kitchen and bathrooms can make a world of difference.

Getting your home ready to sell can feel overwhelming at times, but try to remember all your hard work will pay off. Use these tips to make sure your home is ready to wow buyers!

September
8

Home Renovations that Offer the Best ROI for Resale

Looking to make some upgrades and wondering which will have the biggest pay off? If you guessed kitchen and bathrooms, you're spot on. Another good one is landscaping. Whether they're big or small, a few upgrades can pay big dividends when it's time to sell your home. Follow these tips to prioritize and put more money in your pocket when you're ready to sell.

Before you do anything, make sure you consider the value of your house, the neighborhood, the housing market where you live and how soon you will sell after you make the improvements. If you live in a neighborhood where properties are selling for $300,000, doing a $150,000 renovation may not add as much to your property value as you might think.

Kitchens and Baths
One thing to keep in mind is that just because a remodel is expensive doesn't necessarily mean it will give you the best return on investment. Even minor updates can yield a big return. Consider painting, refinishing surfaces and upgrading appliances, which can lead to a big pay out.

Sticking to a budget is always important, and keep in mind that an average, medium-sized kitchen remodel can cost between $20,000 – $50,000, while the average bathroom remodel is $10,000. In most cases, homeowners see a return of a 100% or more with a kitchen or bath remodel, so it's definitely well worth the investment. Plus, you get to live in a beautiful new space.

A Finished Basement
If finishing your basement is something you've been putting off, now might be the perfect time. According to cost versus value surveys conducted annually by Remodeling magazine, "The average return on investment for a basement project is around 75 cents on the dollar. Besides the financial gains, refinishing a basement will add new functionality to your home: more bedrooms, more efficient storage and more space for entertaining." Seems like a sure-fire win, win.

Add Curb Appeal
When buyers see that the outside of the property is taken care of, they'll be more excited to see the inside. Remember, first impressions make lasting impressions. According to Anji, "Curb appeal can increase your home value by 7%. Buyers are increasingly prioritizing outdoor living spaces and an attractive lawn has the biggest ROI at 256%. Trees can add $1,000 to $10,000 to your home value and simple landscape maintenance tasks usually pay for themselves."

Whether you're in the market to sell your home or just want to make some budget-friendly renovations that you and your family can enjoy, making the right upgrades can help enhance your quality of life and add a few more dollars to your bank account down the road.

September
7

(September 7, 2022) Melanie Foster has joined Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 Real Estate firm in Northwest Louisiana. 

Melanie loves meeting new people and being able to help out where she can. She is excited for her new career in real estate and all of the people that she will get to help along the way. 

Melanie earned her Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. For the last 28 years, she has had the opportunity to spend her time in management in the retail industry. 

She is a mom of 2 boys and a grandmother to a precious little boy. She is also the best bog mom around! She has been happily married to her husband for 16 years and they reside in Haughton. 

If you are looking for an agent to help you buy or sell, give her a call! You may contact Melanie at (505)628-0913 or sur5vrstrong@yahoo.com

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

September
6

Mortgage 101: Home Loan Basics

Buying a house is one of the most significant financial commitments most people make in a lifetime. Most home buyers don't make their purchase with one lump sum of money. A mortgage makes it possible to pay for a home over time. If you're buying a house for the first time, it's essential to understand how mortgages work, and what to expect from your loan. Fortunately, there's plenty of help available, starting with our guide to home loan basics.

  • How Does a Mortgage Work, and Why Is It Necessary?
    A mortgage is a loan used to purchase a home, and in many ways, it's similar to loans for a smaller purchase. The difference – aside from term and overall cost – is that a mortgage is specifically for buying a home, and it's customizable. You borrow an agreed amount, pay a set or adjustable interest rate to the lender, and have a predetermined time to pay back the loan.
  • Key Steps Toward Qualifying for a Mortgage
    There are a wide variety of mortgage types available when buying a house with varying qualification standards. In addition to conventional mortgages, the three types of government-backed mortgages are VA loans, FHA loans, and USDA loans. To qualify, you'll need to meet a minimum credit score requirement, verify your income with documentation, and deal with any errors/issues on your credit report. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage gives you an idea of your buying power, and shows sellers you're serious about buying a house.
  • How Your Down Payment Impacts Your Loan
    The size of your down payment will impact the size of your monthly mortgage payment, and with conventional mortgages may also influence your interest rate. Making a larger down payment means you borrow less money, which may let you pay the loan off faster.
  • Interest Rates and Your Mortgage
    Every mortgage type has a set, base interest rate. Your rate will also be influenced by how much you choose to pay in closing costs – paying more closing costs means a lower rate while opting to pay less can increase your rate.
  • Calculating Monthly Mortgage Payments
    Your monthly mortgage payment depends on three key factors: how much you borrowed, how much interest you're paying, and how long you have to pay back the loan. Plug those three data points into a mortgage calculator, and you can calculate your monthly payments. Remember that if you opt for an adjustable-rate mortgage, your payments are subject to change over time.
  • Speeding Up the Process of Paying Off Your Mortgage
    If you wish to pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule, there are two main options. Either you can refinance, allowing you to pay off the loan more quickly, or you can pay more than required each month. If you want to pay off your loan early, work with your lender to find the path that's best for you.

Working with a lender you know and trust makes life much easier. If you're not sure where to start, your real estate agent can help you find a lender. By consulting trusted sources, doing your research, and asking key questions, you can navigate the process of securing a mortgage with confidence.

September
2

5 Golden Rules For Staging Your Home

Selling your home can be an exciting adventure full of surprises and pitfalls. Taking the time to properly stage it can make selling your home less of a chore and allow you to get the best price possible. Follow these five tips from the pros to help you prepare your home and set the stage for a successful sale.

  1. Start Outside
    The first impression a buyer has of your home can make or break a sale. To make the buyer eager to step inside your home and see more, make sure the outside of your home looks fabulous. It doesn't cost a lot to cut the grass, pull weeds, prune the hedges and plant some flowers. Put away all bikes, toys, and trash cans. If you can, pull your cars out of the driveway, so there's a clear view of your home and property. A freshly painted door and prominent house number can also make your home more appealing.

  2. Clean and Get Rid of Clutter
    The most important thing you can do when getting ready to sell your home is to get rid of clutter. Removing your stuff and making your home less personal makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in your space.

    Take a good look at each room and ask yourself what you really need to keep. Remove personal items like family photos, knickknacks, awards, and collectibles from tables, windowsills, shelves, and other surfaces. In the kitchen, put away towels, refrigerator magnets, sponges, paper towels, and dish soap, and remove small appliances from counters. It's also a good idea to remove pet beds, toys, and bowls.

    In the bathroom, remove all toiletries, hairdryers, and trash cans, open the shower curtain, and close the toilet lid. Keep closets and cabinets tidy throughout the house. Messy, packed-full closets are unappealing and will make the buyer think they are smaller than they are.

    Too much furniture can also contribute to a cluttered look. Professional stagers often remove half the owner's furnishings and put them in storage. Consider boxing up things like books and pictures and putting them in storage as well.

    Once you have removed the clutter, give your home a deep cleaning. Hiring a cleaning crew to come once every two weeks while selling your home will keep it looking fresh and cut down on stress. If you're doing the cleaning, don't forget windows, behind the toilet, grout, and under sinks. Move furniture and vacuum behind and under it.

  3. Make Repairs
    Repair squeaky doors, hinges, broken fixtures, and fittings. Replacing light fixtures, light switches, outlets, and door & cabinet hardware is an affordable way to give your home a more modern look. If you don't have time to refinish, inexpensive area rugs can also disguise the look of old hardwood floors.

  4. Keep it Neutral
    Use a fresh, neutral paint color like beige or taupe for living spaces and neutral green or blue hues for bathrooms. Stay away from bold wall colors, which are often a turnoff to buyers. If you want to make a room pop, add colorful accents with pillows and simple vases of flowers. Keep wall art and paintings neutral and simple.

  5. Accentuate Architecture
    Arrange furnishings to highlight ceilings, windows, views, fireplaces, and other architectural features. Put tall objects such as large bookshelves against walls, and hang art a bit lower to make ceilings look higher. Experiment with different ways to arrange your furniture; create cozy seating areas instead of lining couches and chairs along the walls. Open up blinds and draperies to make sure there's sufficient natural light throughout your home.

Staging doesn't have to be scary. After these fixes, you'll be excited to show people how great your property really is.

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder