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Long Distance Moves: What To Know

Guest post written by Chief of Organized Living & NorthStar Moving Company Co-Founder Laura McHolm

We often get asked: what moves are considered long distance moves? Long distance moves are any move that crosses a state line. They can also be called interstate moves.

If you are one of the millions of Americans seeking a life change by moving to a new state, Coldwell Banker's Move Meter is an excellent resource to determine what state is a fit for you. Simply fill in where you live and where you are considering moving to and the Move Meter will use data to compare key factors such as taxes, schools, home prices and overall quality of life!

Once you decide on the new state you are moving to and are ready to move, here are the elements to be aware of and consider when moving long distance:


Factors that affect the price of long distance moves

  • How far are you moving?
  • When are you moving? Think of it like airplane tickets, the busier the time, the more expensive the ticket. Usually, moving companies are the busiest at the end of the month and in the summer.
  • How much stuff are you moving?
  • Will you pack yourself? Or, is the moving company packing for you?

Consolidated shipping

Instead of sending a giant semi truck across the state line with only your belongings onboard, check to see if your moving company can consolidate your long distance move with other clients' shipments. This method of consolidated shipping allows everyone to receive the lowest rate for long distance moves.

If you need to move quickly, or have a large amount of items to move, you can always pay full price for an entire truck.

Delivery windows

Sometimes for long distance moves, moving companies give a delivery window and not an exact arrival date. They know conditions like weather and road closures can often slow down the moving truck. And, if your belongings are part of a consolidated shipment, it takes time for the movers to pick up and deliver other clients' shipments along the way.

Accessorial charges

Does your move involve any extra circumstances like flights of stairs? An elevator? Will the truck have to park far from your front door? By the way, the moving lingo for "extra circumstances" is "accessorial charges".


Will your belongings need to be in the moving company's storage while you're getting your new place ready?

Best money saving tip

The best way to truly save on the cost of your move is to choose a moving company based on their reputation. Make sure they have provided stellar service to their clients for years.



By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

Real estate has always been a seasonal business. Every year at this time we embark on our traditional Spring buying and selling seasons that runs into mid-summer before we reach a back-to-school lull and then rebound a bit in the Fall.

But this seasonality went out the window over the last few years going back to when the pandemic began. Home sales and prices went on a tear as the number of available homes plummeted. Starting in June 2020 all across the nation we saw people fleeing urban centers for the suburbs and beyond. A work-from-anywhere model emerged as Zoom calls took over our lives. More affordable markets like Northwest Louisiana became more attractive than ever. And we obviously saw mortgage rates reach all-time lows allowing so many the opportunity to move-up, downsize, buy their first home or even vacation homes.

We had a frenzied market filled with multiple bids as an influx of buyers struggled to compete for a limited number of properties. While we knew the pace would eventually end, we didn't know it would be inflation, the war in Ukraine, and other factors that would force the Fed to increase lending rates. This led to an increase in mortgage rates and thus a slowed housing market at the latter end of 2022.

So here we are now in our first traditional Spring market since 2019. Wow! We are once again seeing buyers and sellers looking to move largely for lifestyle reasons – engagements and marriages, births, growing families, desire to be in better schools or nearer to friends, family and work. Of course, new jobs, promotions and retirements are also drivers as our less joyful occasions like divorces and illnesses.

And, while the real estate market has slowed, we are still helping buyers and sellers.

In Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, they had a story about today's housing market. I was struck by a quote from a recent Los Angeles home buyer who was pictured with his wife and newborn. He was relieved that rising rates have reduced the pace of the market and said, "I found the slowdown in the market to be good because at least we had time. We just wanted the playing field to be a little more level."

Higher rates continue to pull some buyers out of the market, especially at the lower end. Our friends at Fairway Mortgage report our average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to be currently at 6.81%. Unfortunately, this makes it hard for some to afford increased monthly payments. This is one of the reasons why we had just 283 sales in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes last month, about 60 less than our five year February average. Not surprisingly. most of the slowdown came at sub-$200,000 price range where there were 147 few homes sold in February compared to last year.

Nationally, sales were up 15.2% from January, but down 22.6% over last year at this time.

I've been a bit more focused today on the raw number of sales rather than percentage decreases. We are off 33% in Northwest Louisiana sales so far this year compared to last year, but we have to remember at this time a year ago, we were still in the second-hottest start ever in Northwest Louisiana. Therefore, we are coming off record highs. It will be interesting to see what sales look like in the next few months as we enter our more traditional sales seasons. 

This month's first chart looks at sales in the different price points. We are down in almost every sector except much of the higher-priced brackets in Caddo and Bossier. The data from Desoto is skewed because sales are largely impacted by a lack of available homes.

Price Range

YoY Number of Home Sales NW LOUISIANA
(% change over February 2022

YoY Number of Home Sales in Bossier Parish (% change over February 2022

YoY Number of Home Sales in Caddo Parish (% change over February 2022

YoY Number of Home Sales in Desoto Parish (% change over February 2022


511 (-33%)

200 (-28%)

297 (-35%)

14 (-46%)

$100,000 & less

105 (-27%)

27 (+13%)

74 (-36%)

4 (+33%)


137 (-44%)

34 (-50%)

101 (-40%)

2 (-78%)


154 (-31%)

72 (-34%)

78 (-28%)

4 (-33%)


66 (-24%)

39 (-24%)

24 (-29%)

3 (+50%)


24 (-27%)

17 (+13%)

6 (-65%)

1 (+100%)


12 (-20%)

6 (+50%)

6 (-14%)

0 (-400%)


13 (+8%)

5 (0%)

8 (+33%)

0 (-100%)


Traditionally, we've seen a slowdown in sales bring lower home prices. But that is not occurring today simply because we still do not have enough homes on the market to meet demand. It's still a supply vs. demand imbalance.

So, before I get to prices, let's look at inventory. We had hit an all-time low of 667 available homes in April 2022. Things improved a bit reaching 1,072 in October. But now we are back down to 920 available homes. As a comparison, we had more than 2,100 and 1,80, available at this time respectively in 2019 and 2020.

This means that buyers are met with at least 50% less choice.

And so far this year, we are not seeing much relief. It's definitely a concern that we saw only 369 homes come on the market last month, the lowest February total since I started tracking this data 13 years ago. And we are essentially mimicking what the National Association of Realtors just reported with their latest Existing Homes Sales. Nationally, there are only 980,000 homes on the market. While this is up about 16% over last year at this time, it still equates to a low 2.6 month supply. Our month supply is 2.3.

We get this number by dividing our current number of available homes (920) by our last 12-month average number of sales (402). Therefore, we remain in a strong sellers' market as a balanced one – where neither seller or buyer has a negotiating advantage – is historically around 5 months.

This next chart shows that even with fewer buyers, our inventory levels are not rising. In fact, essentially whatever homes come on the market are being sold – and pretty quickly. You will notice that things are especially tight in the middle price ranges.

Price Range

February 2023 Available Homes/Month Supply

February 2019 Available Homes/Month Supply




$100,000 & less



















The buyer I mentioned benefitted from a slowed pace of sales. Nationally, homes are staying on the market today for about 34 days compared to just 18 a year ago. Locally, our homes are coming off the market in 31 days compared to last year's 16.

He also benefitted from slowing home price appreciation and decided to "date the mortgage and marry the house" going with an adjustable-rate mortgage that has a lower interest rate for the first 10 years of the loan. Obviously, he is hoping to refinance to a lower long-term mortgage in the coming years before the rate adjusts. But he got the house after having struggled to compete for a few years.

The pace of price increases is another data point I'm focusing on. During the pandemic our wonderful region saw double-digit annual percentage increases. This was far from the norm. Traditionally, no matter what occurred on the high-priced coasts, we just chugged along at 2-4% annual increases. But, so far this year, our median price (the middle of all homes sold) is $208,800, up 7% over a year ago.

Home prices are holding their value.

The hope is that sellers – as they see a need– will realize they still command top dollar and continue with their plans to list. They remain in the driver's seat.

We are also telling buyers to recognize that prices are likely not going to fall dramatically. For example, at this rate, our median-priced $208,800 home would cost $223,416 next February with 7% appreciation. Even looking at a 2% increase, that home would be $212,946.

Remember, we are NOT like the rest of the nation!

First, our median price is a whopping $155,000 less than the U.S. mark of $368,000. Additionally, the national median price was 0.2% behind last year. This marked the first year-over-year decline in 131 months. The U.S. has seen more than a decade of continuous increases dating back to the end of the Great Recession.

Here is a snapshot look at how home prices have increased nationally over time:



November 2010


December 2013


July 2016


April 2020


October 2020


August 2022


February 2023



The above chart perfectly illustrates how equity works for a potential seller. Along with paying down your mortgage over the years, the value of your home has likely increased. Therefore, when you go to sell, you likely have made significant gains. This profit can be put towards the next home either allowing for a cash purchase – no mortgage required – or putting more into the next home to reduce the mortgage amount. Currently 28% of all U.S. sales are cash deals.

Even though we are past the top-of-the-market, homeowners have done extremely well especially over the last several years. And this news is even better for the 30% of all Americans who own their home "free and clear" of a mortgage.

This last chart shows how we compare to the national housing market:



(change over February '22)

Northwest LA

(change over February '22)

Median Price


$208,900 /+2%

Number of Sales

4.58 million/-22.6%





Month Supply



Median Days on Market




I assume you can tell how much I love analyzing the data to tell the story of our current housing market. But I also hope you realize how much I – and all of our agents – want to be a resource for you.

We understand how confusing things are. It's hard to get local information from Zillow, Realtor.com, Yahoo Finance, MarketWatch, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or other national entities. Believe me, they don't have a clue when it comes to Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes.

For those considering buying or selling a home, I really do encourage you to reach out to us. Get your questions answered. Gain an understanding of where you stand financially, what you can afford or what your home might be worth. And if you are thinking of a move out of town, our agents can connect you to a solid agent there to help remove some of the mystery.

And, of course, if you want to get even more insight, you can click here to get our Coldwell Banker Gosslee February 2023 Monthly Market Report.

My email is bgosslee@cbgosslee.com. And you can call our office at (318) 747-5411 and (318) 861-2461 or reach an agent though cbosslee.com


The Future Homeowner Club: Game Plan for Buying your First House

So, you want to buy a house?

This guide is designed to map out the 12-Month Timeline that will take you to homeownership. Please note, this can be done sooner than 12 months, but the same framework still applies. As you start the process, you'll be able to determine what your custom timeline is going to look like based on your credit, financing budget, and home goals.

Before you begin, it's important to understand your why – Why do you want to embark on this journey to homeownership? Has it always been your dream to own a home? Do you want to start a family? Do you want a closet that's bigger than a shoebox? Do you want to paint the walls any color you want? Whatever you why is will help you stay on track with your home goals.

12 Months Out

  1. Check your credit score: Get a copy of your credit report. The 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are required to give you a free credit report every year. You want to not only learn what your credit score is, but make sure there aren't any errors that need to be disrupted.
  2. Figure out your home buying budget: This is important to do at the beginning so that you can create a savings plan for a down payment and other home buying expenses.
  3. Get your finances in order: Whether you need to raise your credit score or create a down payment savings plan, you'll want to figure this all out about a year in advance from when you're wanting to buy your first house.
  4. Research different loan programs: Myth…You need 20% down to buy a home. Actually, you can put down as low as 3.5% (sometimes even less). Talk to a lender and so some research to figure out what options you have. Homeownership may be closer than you think.

6 to 9 Months Out

  1. Do your research: Start thinking about the home features that are most important to you. What are your absolute must haves vs your deal breakers? What is important to you? Being close to work? Having a big backyard? What is important that can't be changed?
  2. Take a tour: Start checking out different neighborhoods and see what you like or don't like about different locations. What area do you hope to purchase a home in? Go hangout in the area and check out a local restaurant.
  3. Budget for home buying expenses: You'll need to think about more than the down payment amount. You'll be responsible for paying for a home inspection, an appraisal, closing costs and other miscellaneous expenses. Make sure you budget for this in advance.
  4. Start gathering paperwork: It's important to know that the bank is going to want to see a lot of paperwork. Preparing for this in advance will make the process so much smoother when you're going through it. Here are a few things to start getting together.
    1. Personal tax returns for the past 2 years
    2. Your most recent pay stubs
    3. Bank statements
    4. Credit card and other loan statements
    5. W2 forms and previous addresses

3 Month Out

  1. Get preapproved: By this point, you should be ready to get preapproved! Hopefully you've worked out any credit repair issues and have found a reputable lender to work with. They will run a credit check and determine the amount you're approved for.
  2. Your pre-approval amount: Make sure you take into account other expenses like taxes, homeowners insurance and are budgeting for future home maintenance costs. You may not want to spend the max amount you're approved for depending on the rest of your budget.
  3. Meet with your Realtor and start the home search: You should have researched and found a Real Estate Agent by this point so now that you have your pre-approval in hand, you can officially start house hunting! Your Real Estate Agent will act as your guide for the entire process.

Time to Put Your Plan in Play

  1. Meet your realtor and establish your plan: Set up a time to meet and establish your specific game plan. This includes getting your pre-approval, talking about your goals, timelines, home search criteria, deal breakers, must haves, all the things.
  2. Digital Home Search and Home Tours: Your agent will set you up on a digital home search based on the criteria discussed at your initial consult. From there, they will coordinate home showings based on listings you're interested in that match your criteria.
  3. You found the one – Time to write an offer: Are there other offers on the table, how long has the house been on the market, how does the list price compare to other homes in the area, what can we do to accommodate the sellers, what is the assessed value, etc. How do these compare to the goals you discussed with your agent and what contingencies need to be included?
  4. Possible negotiations: Be prepared to negotiate with the sellers. They may counter our offer on price, closing date, inclusions, etc. From here, your agents will help you determine your next steps and proceed accordingly. It's important not to let your emotions get involved here. You need to look at this logically so that you can make smart real estate decisions.
  5. Your offer is accepted – Yay! Here's what's next: All offer documentation will be forwarded to your lender. You will submit your deposit to the title company, start your loan application and schedule your home inspection. Your agent will send you a timeline of dates and deadlines along with weekly updates to keep you on track and in the loop.
  6. Schedule your home inspection: Your agent will share a list of home inspectors but feel free to choose anyone who is licensed in the state of Louisiana. They will coordinate a date and time to perform the inspection and will share a digital report following inspection. We always encourage you to attend at the end of the inspection so that you can go over the findings with the inspector.
  7. Complete the loan application and appraisal: You will start the loan application process with your lender and submit all required documentation. They will then order an appraisal to be hone by an independent 3rd part appraiser to verify the market value of the home.
  8. Satisfy any remaining contingencies: Between now and closing is when we'll need to make sure all contingencies in the offer have been satisfied. If there were repairs required from the home inspection, a home sale contingency on your end, other inspections being done, etc. Once these a completed you are almost done!
  9. Loan commitment and final walk through: Once your contingencies have been satisfied and your financing has been approved, you'll receive your final loan commitment and clear to close from the lender. Our final step prior to closing is to schedule a final walk through of the property. Your agent will want to go through and make sure everything is as agreed upon with the sellers.
  10. Closing day, keys and celebration: It's finally closing day! Time to sign all the official paperwork and get your keys to your new home! Plan to arrive to your scheduled place of closing on time and with a check in the amount determined with your lender. Bring photo IDs and plan to be there for about 45 minutes. Once everything is cleared, you'll receive the keys and are off to celebrate!

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Working with a Coldwell Banker Gosslee agent includes that little extra! Our agents communicate effectively, build relationships with other agents and find the right house for every buyer. Whenever you ready to begin your home buying journey, just give us a call!

Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411    Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461


How to Create a Lifestyle Buyers Want 

When the time comes to sell your home, your real estate agent is going to be marketing all of your "house data" from square footage to the size of your yard. All of these details combined with the updates you've done from installing granite countertops to the luxury soaking tub in the Owner Suite are certainly important. However, when you're trying to think of all of the features of your home, often on of the most important factors is overlooked.

That factor is the lifestyle buyers will see when they tour your home. A buyer might say they want a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a minimum of 2,500 square feet, a game room and an acre lot. However, what they really might be looking for is a home that has plenty of space for their 3 growing children to play and have their friends over. A years where they can learn how to play catch and have family football games and Summer cookouts. As well as extra room for game and movie nights.

So if you are thinking of selling your home, it's important to think about the kind of lifestyle a buyer would experience in your house in addition to the list of features and square footage. This guide is going to help you determine changes you might consider making to your home before putting it on the market to ensure that buyers are able to see the lifestyle in addition to all of the other details. 

It will also provide you with a few tips and tricks that will make your listing stand out! Most importantly, you'll want to consider working with an agent who understands lifestyle marketing so that they can attract as many buyers as possible, which will increase demand and therefore, maximize the sale price of your home.

Let's determine what lifestyle your home conveys!

  1. What is your favorite room in your house and why?
  2. If you had 10K to renovate any room in your home, which room would you choose and why?
  3. If there a room in your home that could be converted to something more functional? What room would you convert and what would you change it to?
  4. Which room in your home do you spend the most time in and why?
  5. What is your favorite neighborhood feature or nearby attraction?

Now. Let's talk about some examples of home features that create a lifestyle.

  1. Open Concept, Huge Kitchen and Built-In Bar = Entertainer's Dream
  2. Private backyard with fire pit and lots of space = Outdoor Lover
  3. Home Theater = Ultimate Movie Buffs
  4. Close to hiking trails and bike paths = Active and Adventurous

What are your home's lifestyle features? Write those down!

Next Step: Taking what you've learned and applying it to your home.

  1. Highlight the rooms that feature your home's lifestyle by staging them and clearing out anything that takes away from how the room is meant to be used. (If you have a great kitchen island but it's cluttered with food boxes, appliances, or mail – organize them, or try to eliminate the things you don't use on a day-to-day basis so that space still shows well.)
  2. Think about any rooms that you've converted from their traditional use – does it match the lifestyle you're trying to sell or should you convert it back? (Did you convert a bedroom into a craft room that leaves you with only 2 bedrooms instead of 3?)
  3. Do you have a space that could be improved prior to listing your home that would attract buyers? (A beautiful porch that could use some accessorizing, furniture and greenery?)
  4. Would adding a home office space instead of a formal dining room make sense? (With many 'work from home' jobs these days, home offices are becoming very desirable. Would one work in your home?)
  5. Interview Real Estate Agents to see how they plan on marketing your home. Find someone who understands how to market a lifestyle in addition to all the other details.
  6. BONUS IDEA: Write a note to future buyers that you can leave out for showings. Offer them to help themselves to a glass of wine (or whichever beverage you choose to leave out) and tell them to spend some time enjoying (whichever space you think would best sell your home) so they can imagine themselves living there.

Our agents have a passion for helping their clients prep your home for sale and marketing the lifestyle of each listing! If you are thinking about putting your house on the market to move up to your dream home, give us a call today to set up a free consultation. Our agents can help you craft a custom plan for prepping your house for sale so that they can make your listing stand out above the rest. You and your home deserve the utmost attention to detail, and lifestyle marketing will make your home extra desirable in this market.

Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411      Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461


Whether it's your first home or you're getting ready to move into something new that fits your changing needs, this topic is for you. Today, we are going to talk about the top lifestyle considerations for buying a home. So we're going to go beyond your typical list of home features and help you start thinking about the actual lifestyle you want to live. 


You hear it all the time in the real estate world - it's all about the location...and it really is true! Because while you can paint colors, countertops and put that massive deck you've always dreamed of, you can't move your house (not without a lot of money anyways).

Think of things like what your work commute will be like, how far of a drive you're willing to have each day, the features you want in your community, and the school distrcit you want to be in if that is important to you. Do you want to be walking distance to the downtown? Do you want to be set further back from the road for privacy? What about the size of the city you live in? Do you want the feel of a small town lifestyle or are you happier in a busier city? The location of your home will be something that isn't going to change so figure out which criteria are essential when it comes to the location of your home and the lifestyle it will create. 


When you think of home features it's easy to automatcially jump to your running list of criteria such as the size of the garage, how many bedrooms you want, that must-have updated kitchen and all of the "house data". However, you are ultimately buying a lifestyle, not just a house. So we have some things for you to consider when it comes to the type of lifestyle you are ultimately looking for when you make a move! Write down these questions and really think about what your answers are:

  1. Where do you spend most of your time at home? If you love to cook and spend most of your time in the kitchen, you'll want to prioritize the layout of the kitchen when looking for a home. You can always add in upgraded quartz countertops or that dreamy double oven but the size, layout and location of the kitchen should be a top concern if you don't want to do any major renovations. 
  2. What is something you wish you had in your current home? What is something you don't want any longer in your current home? Is your yard a lot to maintain and you want something smaller with a lot less maintenance? Maybe it's the opposite and your current yard is just too small for the lifestyle you have - making one of your top priorities having a bigger yard with privacy.
  3. Which room in your house do you spend the most time in? How much space do you need to live comfortably and be able to enjoy the things you love the most? Are you hoping to have enough bathrooms to avoid chaotic mornings?

These questions will help you determine which features could be the most important to focus on when it comes time to look for a new home. Maybe features like hardwood floors aren't as necessary as having a layout that is perfect for entertaining and hosting holiday parties. You can always swap out flooring later but the layout will be a little harder to change. 


It's important to consider how much you can afford comfortably. Buyers are often pre-approved for a significantly higher amount than what they are actually comfortable spending on a monthly basis. Think about other expenses you have when it somes to your lifestyle - what else is important to you? Do you love to travel or go out to nice dinners on a regular basis? Do you love attending as many games of your favorite football team as possible? What hobbies do you have that cost money every month? Make sure the amount you spend on your house doesn't eat up all of your extra funds so you're glued to the house and can't have any fun or do the things you love!

If you're considering buying a new home in the near future and you want to chat more about the type of lifestyle you're looking for, reach out to us today!

Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411    Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461


4 Things to Consider When Pricing Your Home

Today, we are talking about the most important factor when selling - how to price your home. Grab a notebook and your favorite pen and let's dive in!

    1. Like everyone always says: LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!: It's true! When pricing your home for sale, you need to consider the details of the location of your home. If you're in a popular subdivision located in a well desired school district, your value is going to be higher than having a house that backs up to a busy road or commerical building. 
    2. If your home has a lot of wear and tear, it will definitely affect your value: Things like shabby carpet, wood rot, beat up floors, rickety doors and ripped screens should be addressed prior to selling if you don't want these things to affect your value. Having a home that looks well taken care of puts the buyer's minds at ease and allows them to look at the home as being low maintenance. Buyers don't want to move in and immediately get to work unless they're buying a fixer upper. Keep in mind that fixer uppers come at fixer upper prices!
    3. Competition: Houses in your neighborhood that are for sale when you list will have a direct affect on the value of your home. If the house down the street is listed for $350,000 but has updated kitchen and baths and your home does not - that is your competition and you'll have to price accordingly. This will also apply when looking at the condition, square footage and length of time on the market to know if it's priced appropriately. The houses in your same area are your direct competition so you need to pay attention to this when listing your own home for sale. Buyers will be comparing your house with the one down the street. 
    4. History: You'll also want to look at comparable homes in your neighborhood that have sold within the past 3-6 months. The homes that have recently sold will give you an accurate idea of what homes are actually selling for along with how long they were on the market and how they compare to yours. If there aren't any recent comps in your neighborhood or there is really low turnover where you live, the search parameters will have to be extended somewhat but this is an important factor to take into consideration when pricing your home.

Pricing your home correctly is a crucial piece to a successful home sale. Taking all of these factors into consideration will help point you to the price that makes sense. It's also important to work with a real estate agent who will be honest about the value of your home. Our agents will be happy to offer you a free, no obligation seller consultation where they will cover all of this and more! Give us a call today to get started.

Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411  Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461


Wallpaper with Personality

Wallpaper is back. And you'll be glad it is – with all the exciting new colors, patterns and textures available to choose from. Today, stylish wallpaper is being used in small spaces, such as powder rooms and mudrooms, or as a beautiful accent, providing pops of color that brighten up an area or give it a more customized look.

Wallpaper choices range from traditional floral patterns to modern art deco designs, with patterns ranging from subdued to bold. Today's wallpaper is also much easier to apply and remove, so you can create a big impact without the hassle and mess. So, where do you begin? It depends on the look you're going for.

Create Visual Interest With Texture

If your space needs some personality, textured wallpaper may be the answer. Its three-dimensional design mimics just about any material, giving the room an unexpected visual element. Faux stone or wood adds rustic charm. Floral or scroll patterns evoke an antique or vintage vibe. Many textured papers are even paintable, so if you ever want to change things up, you can give your walls new life with a coat of paint.

Add a Touch of Glow With Metallics

For a glamorous feel, metallic wallpaper is an elegant choice. Your space will sparkle with movement as gold, silver and black elements reflect the light. Some metallic papers are also textured, producing shadowed accents that add depth and intrigue.

Soften Up With Fabric

Fabric or textile wall coverings are among the oldest types of wall decoration and can complement a bedroom's soft furnishings, giving it a luxurious feel. Found in both manmade and natural fibers, the paper mimics velvet, silk, linen or cotton. These materials are also breathable and porous, making them less susceptible to mold spores. However, keep in mind that fabric wallpaper can be affected by moisture and extreme heat.

Go Green With Naturals

Newer wall treatments made from environmentally friendly, natural products such as bamboo or grass cloth have increased in popularity. Certain brands are handcrafted and create quite a conversation piece, capitalizing on the material's innate color and texture variations.

Wow Them With a Mural

On a feature wall, a mural makes a bold a statement. It can help bring the beauty of the outdoors inside, transforming a room with dramatic floral arrangements, sweeping landscapes, lush forests and a variety of other picturesque nature-inspired scenes.

Find Your Inner Child With DIY Options

If you're looking to create a playful, interactive space, coloring wallpaper is just the ticket. It's not only an ideal addition to a child's room, but also adds a fun element to any entertaining space. Just like coloring books, this wallpaper comes in a plethora of themes and can be minimal or highly detailed in design. Most often in peel-and-stick form, you can easily remove it, apply a new pattern and start all over again. Just be sure to take pictures of your masterpiece before tearing it down.

Feeling timid about jumping on the wallpaper bandwagon? Consider starting with a small project. Give your lamps some personality by applying wallpaper around the edges of the shades. Wallpaper the top of a side table that isn't getting much use. Or paper the back wall of a bookcase or curio cabinet to introduce surprise depth. No matter the project, wallpaper has the unique ability to create a space in your home that's every bit as distinctive as you are.


Guest Room Tips for the Warmest of Welcomes

Opening your house to guests is one of the many joys of being a homeowner. You can make guests feel welcomed and comfortable by following these simple tips.

Create the Ultimate "Flex" Room

Flexibility is key in getting the most out of your guest quarters. If you host frequently, the room will likely be used by a wide variety of people – from your high school bestie visiting with her kids on spring break to Great Auntie Edna who's there for the holidays to your nephew who's in town to tour college campuses. If you expect to holiday children or multiple guests at the same time, consider investing in bunk beds or at least twin beds to offer several possible combinations of sleeping arrangements. The important thing is to plan ahead and anticipate who you may be hosting. Keep this in mind when decorating the space as well. Selecting a neutral color palette (step away from that ruffled, hot pink comforter!) will ensure that everyone feels content in their home away from home.

Add Some Local Flavor

Showcase your local community by displaying the highlights or most popular features of your city. Display a coffee table book about its history or attractions. Framed postcards or other artwork that show the best and coolest spots around town will not only dress up the space, but also give visitors a little taste of what they might see and do during their stay. Go one step further and stock the dresser drawer with brochures or travel magazines they can browse through to gather ideas about an itinerary for their vacation.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Want to really understand what your visitors might need? Spend a night in your guest room with suitcase in tow, and you'll discover all sorts of little niceties that would make a difference to your guests: handy hooks for wet towels, extra blankets in the bureau, plenty of empty hangers in the closet, a convenient luggage rack, drink coasters for the nightstand, an alarm clock or even a collection of short stories for nighttime reading. Endeavoring to understand their needs from their perspective will help you play the role of the perfect host.

Feel confident when you lay out the welcome mat that those who cross your threshold will enjoy the time spent in your home. Refer to these tips when preparing for overnight guests and you'll be sure to win points as a first-rate host.


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.


Selling Your Home? Here's What You Need to Know

Selling a home certainly comes with its share of challenges, but there are also plenty of people who have been in your shoes before. Leaning on the advice of an experienced real estate agent is a great way to simplify the selling process. Let's take a closer look at tips to help you get a head start on selling your home quickly.

Proven, Professional Selling Tips

  1. Price to Sell
    Trying to squeeze every last dollar out of the deal by starting with a high asking price may ultimately lead to a lower final sale price for your home. A home that's priced too high is likely to sit on the market, and homes that linger on the market ultimately tend to sell for less. You don't need to offer a bargain basement price, but you may want to go a little bit lower than other similar homes in the area, especially if you're hoping for a quick sale.

  2. Clean and De-clutter
    We'll cover staging for open houses shortly, but first, you'll want to take care of the basics of preparing your home for potential buyers. Get ready to clean your home from top to bottom, including those hidden corners that you haven't thought about in years. Now is also the time to start clearing out clutter and storing personal items, so buyers will be able to imagine their lives in the home.

  3. Prioritize Fixes and Improvements
    While you want to make your home as appealing as possible for buyers, upgrading every last little thing is unrealistic and likely to result in lost money. Instead, focus on upgrading the important stuff, with special attention given to kitchen and bathroom areas, because buyers tend to look at those spaces first. Look for upgrades that cost little, but make a big difference in appearance.

  4. Smart, Simple Staging
    Once you've cleaned your home top to bottom and made the most cost-effective upgrades, you'll be ready to start thinking about how to stage your home for open houses. An experienced agent can help you with staging tips that will allow you to showcase the most important areas of your home. Open spaces, ample lighting, and attractively arranged furniture are great places to start.

  5. Consider Curb Appeal
    You want buyers to be impressed from the moment they arrive at the curb, so it's important to make sure that your yard is clean, your landscaping is well-maintained, and the entrance to your home is looking its absolute best when selling a home.

  6. Be Ready for Anything
    Selling a home is a complex process, so there may naturally be some ups and downs while your home is on the market. Financing can fall through, buyers can have second thoughts, and appraisals may not always match the value you expect to get for your home. Stay focused on your goals, work closely with your agent, and you'll be ready to overcome any obstacle.

Reading about the best tips to sell your home is a great place to start, but remember that there's no substitute for working with an experienced, professional real estate agent.


Get Ready for March Madness with a Sports Viewing Room

Shocking upsets! Amazing buzzer beaters! Yes fans, it's March – time to fill out your bracket and get ready for some serious basketball. When your favorite team hits the court, will you hit the sports bar or watch from home? You can enjoy the best of both with a sports room that will be the envy of all your pals. Here are a few simple tips to get ready for the madness.

The TV

When it comes to screen size, it almost goes without saying that you have to think big. Make sure every play, every foul and every point is captured in big, bold, high-definition. That goes for the acoustics as well – bigger is no doubt better. With an excellent surround sound system, you can experience every swishhh as if you're courtside.

The Couch

Leather is probably your best bet for maximum relaxation. If you plan to spend a lot of time on that sofa (like maybe two weeks in March?), you need the perfect place to sink right down and settle in. Added bonus: The easily wipeable surface means you don't have to worry about spills and stains when things get a little rowdy in overtime.

The Drinks

Having a fridge nearby – full size or mini – is always a good idea. It'll spare you from too many trips to the kitchen, causing you to miss out on all the excitement. Installing an elevated bar area with stools behind the couch is another popular option. Not only will it keep your beverages and snacks close at hand, it also means everyone has an awesome seat – squarely in front of the screen.

The Bar

If you're ready to level up and recreate your favorite sports bar in your basement or garage, then having an actual bar is a necessity. This can be as simple or as extravagant as you want, from a $200 bar unit on Amazon to a custom DIY project and everything in between.

The Décor

Although this feature has the final spot in this list of top tips, it's still pretty crucial. You want the room to feel like a rec room. So gather all your sports memorabilia – framed jerseys, pennants, autographed balls, heck, even a bobblehead will do – to give it the right atmosphere.

Now all you need is food and friends. Let the madness begin!


What to Consider When Buying a Home to Renovate

Have you ever binge watched home renovation shows on HGTV and thought to yourself "I could do that!" I want to know who has seriously considered buying a home to renovate because if you're even considering making a real estate investment like this, whether flipping a home for a quick profit or renovating a home to live in for a few years, you'll want to keep listening to make sure you know the most important thing to consider!

If you're the King or Queen of DIY, have an eye for hidden potential and want to invest your hard earned money into real estate so you can turn it into even more money, buying a home to renovate could be a really great option for you! But first, let's talk about the #1 thing you need to consider before making your move!


It probably doesn't come as any surprise that location is what you should consider when buying a home to renovate because isn't that the case with any house? It's all about the location! But let us tell you why, in particular, it's important to pay attention to this. You don't want to over-renovate for the area you're buying in. You could buy a home that needs some TLC and make it absolutely beautiful BUT if all of the other homes in the neighborhood are valued at a price significantly less than what you're thinking, it'll be really tough to sell for the amount you want. 

So how do you know what to look for to find the right location?

  1. You'll want to look in areas where homes aren't super cookie cutter. Think neighborhoods with a wider range of styles, sizes and price points. 
  2. Study the area and what types of finishes the other homes have. You might want to rethink installing high end hardwood flooring throughout the entire house if most of the neighboring homes have laminate and carpet. Same goes for any higher end features. 
  3. Start with the basics and make sure the home you buy to renovate makes sense for the renovations you want to complete.
  4. Keep an overall location in mind as well. If you buy a home at a great price and flip the inside so it looks like it's straight out of a page of Crate & Barrel catalog BUT it's on a really busy road and barely has a yard, you'll be hard pressed to get the money back that you put into renovations with this as well. 

If you're thinking of looking for a home to renovate, so your homework! For even more peace of mind that you're making a smart investment, make sure you find a real estate agent to work with who can walk you through everything you should watch out for - from red flags to home inspection negotiations. You won't want to buy an investment property alone.


How To Get Your Home 'Show Ready' in 15 Minutes or Less

Have you ever cleaned your house from top to bottom and thought - looks great, now no one touch anything!! When you're selling your house, this couldn't be more true. So whether you're going to be selling soon, your house is already for sale or you have in-laws who give you a 15 minute warning before stopping over, we want to share our best hacks for getting your house "show ready" in under 15 minutes.

  1. Have a Last Minute Basket: Have one laundry basket that you dedicate for a speed clean up. Use it to throw in scattered toys, magazine, a sweatshirt hanging on the chair, and any little things laying around that you want out of sight but don't have time to put away quickly. 
  2. Fluff the Couch Pillows: If your spouse or dogs like to bunch up the pillows, you'll want to make sure they're nice and fluffed before the buyers arrive!
  3. Light a Candle: Have a candle out on the kitchen counter that is ready to be lit when you have a showing. 
  4. Turn on Every Light and Open All the Blinds: We are talking ALL the lights! Exterior lights, table lamps, and accent lighting - the brighter the better.
  5. Clear off the Counters: The countertops should be cleared of clutter from a bridal shower invite to the Crate&Barrel catalog you still want to look through. The only things that should be out on the countertops are 1-2 small appliances, such as the coffee maker.
  6. Invest in a Big Decorative Basket or Storage Ottoman for Blankets: So many of us use blankets when we are lounging in front of the TV. Keep a nice big basket next to the couch you can quickly throw your blankets in so they're not sprawled across the couch. 
  7. Close the Toilet Seats: Pretty self explanatory, but please do not forget to do this. 
  8. Set Alexa to Play Some Nice Background Music: This is a multi-tasking item! While you're fluffing the couch pillows, you can tell Alexa what to turn on. If you don't have an Alexa, we suggest turning on some tunes.
  9. Hide Your Pet's Dishes and Grab the Pets: Even pet lovers don't like to see signs of pets when they're looking at a home they're thinking of buying. So take the dog bowls and toys with you (you can throw them in the special laundry basket).
  10. Keep a Package of Cleaning Wipes in Your Bathroom and Kitchen: Do a quick wipe down of the countertops so they're sparkling and clean! No one wants to see a dirty kitchen or bathroom!

And there you have it! Your house will be ready for buyers in no time! 



By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

"I've been in real estate for a long time and cannot remember a market like this."

That was how I started my blog last February. Back then we had record demand, an all-time low supply of homes on the market and prices that were rising to record highs.

Today's market is very different, but I must repeat myself. I've been in real estate for a long time and cannot remember a market like this.

But I say this for a different reason as we are not following the patterns of a normal market correction. In a traditional shifting market, we see a slowdown of activity which leads to an increased supply of homes and stabilization of home prices. But this isn't the case today.

Yes, we've had a slowdown in home sales. But our inventory levels – even though they are rising – are still not enough to meet demand. And that has kept price appreciation higher than we traditionally see. Today's market is not like others we have experienced before.

As we get ready for the 2023 Spring housing market, here is a more detailed look at where things currently stand:

Home sales

Wow! Things have changed drastically. Through the midway point of 2022, real estate sales were at near record levels. But we have now flipped in the complete opposite direction to near record lows.

While January is always the slowest sales month of the year, there were only 226 last month combined in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes. This was 39% lower than last year's 368 January sales when we were still in the midst of the frenzied market. And we were also way off the five year January average of 314 sales.

The largest reason for the reduction in sales has been the increase in mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors' Existing Home Sales report, which was released on Tuesday, shared that the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.32% last week. It was 3.92% at this time a year ago. This rise in rates and subsequent increase in monthly payments has unfortunately "priced out" a large swath of potential buyers.

This is likely why there were only 53 sales of homes under $100,000, off 33% from last year, and just 55 sales between $100,000-$200,000. This was off 56% from last January's 124 sales. Without buyers at these levels, we would have fewer "move up" buyers causing a ripple effect as we move up in price ranges. January marked the first time since mortgage rates began rising that the top of the market recorded negative sales figures over a year ago.

Our sales slowdown was similar to what is occurring nationally where the sales rate  was down 36.9% over last January. A year ago, sales were at a blistering 6.34 million pace. One last note, nationally, the U.S. ended the year with 5.03 million home sales, the lowest since we came out of the Great Recession in 2014.

This month's first chart shows sales in each local Parish compared to last year:

Price Range

YoY Number of Home Sales NW LOUISIANA
(% change over January 2022

YoY Number of Home Sales in Bossier Parish (% change over January 2022

YoY Number of Home Sales in Caddo Parish (% change over January 2022

YoY Number of Home Sales in Desoto Parish (% change over January 2022


226 (-39%)

82 (-33%)

137 (-43%)

7 (-22%)

$100,000 & less

53 (-33%)

    8 (-33%)

44 (-34%)

1 (-50%)


55 (-56%)

16 (-54%)

38 (-56%)

    1 (-50%)


69 (-34%)

32 (-33%)

35 (-35%)

    2 (+0%)


28 (-22%)

14 (-26%)

12 (-25%)

2 (+100%)


15 (+15%)

8 (+100%)

6 (-25%)

1 (0%)


   3 (-40%)

    2 (0%)

1 (-50%)

0 (-100%)


3 (-57%)

2 (0%)

1 (-80%)

0 (0%)


Pace of Sales

If you have been reading these monthly blogs, you know that Days on Market has been at all-time low levels which had dropped to just seven days in June! Yup, it was taking one week for a home to be sold! Today we are returning to a bit more normalcy at 30 days (nationally its 33 days), largely because with fewer buyers sales, we are not seeing multiple bids and therefore a slower pace in making an offer.

Here is another great national stat that shows how much things have changed. Midway through 2022, 88% of all homes sold in the U.S. were off the market in 30 days or less. Today that figure stands at 54%.


Things were really dire back in April 2022 when we hit an all-time low of just 667 available homes for sale. By October, we jumped to 1,072 and today stand at 912. As the below chart shows, at this time in 2019, we had more than 2,000 homes for sale.

This means a buyer today has less than half of the choice they had just four years ago.

Here is why we are likely not seeing enough homes come on the market:

  • During the pandemic, for quite a few reasons, interest rates dropped to all-time lows. This led to a refinancing boom and so many were able to get rates in the low 2% ranges. If they don't have a need to sell their home today, they naturally don't have a large incentive to give up that mortgage. Remember, your mortgage rate doesn't travel with you to the next home.
  • So many others, because of low rates, were able to take advantage of their equity and "move up" or "downsize". Many in this group adjusted their timeline for such a move and are now well situated. They don't need to sell again.
  • We had so many also take advantage of the low rates to purchase their first home. They are also not ready to sell yet.

Those who are selling today are doing so because of traditional life events including growing families, a desire to have their kids in better school districts, a job promotion or new job which allows for greater income and ability to move closer to work, friends and family or a desire to upgrade to a home with new amenities. These are largely the reasons as to why 463 homes came on the market in January. But we still need more.

NAR reports there are currently only 980,000 homes on the market in the entire U.S. The good news is we are up 15.3% nationally over last January. It's great to see that our local levels improved by 24%

This next chart shows the supply of homes on the market locally, along with the monthly supply. We are still exceedingly low overall at just 2.2 months, which is dramatically lower than the 2.9 months seen nationally.

Price Range

January 23 Available Homes/Month Supply

January 2019 Available Homes/Month Supply




$100,000 & less




















Nationally home prices were up 1.3% over last January to a median price (the middle of all homes sold) to $359,000. Locally, our median price was $209,050, which was up 15% over last January. Our average price, which many believe is a better barometer, is $216,998, up 8% from a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist for NAR said, ""Home sales are bottoming out. Prices vary depending on a market's affordability, with lower-priced regions witnessing modest growth and more expensive regions experiencing declines."

We are one of the lower-priced regions as our median home is about $150,000 less than the national mark.

But in a place like Boise, Idaho, where prices exploded during the pandemic, they are off about 3.5% year-over-year. But they saw their median price go from about $400,000 in April 2020 to more than $700,000 last March. That pace was unsustainable. But clearly, giving back 3.5% of a meteoric rise doesn't mean buyers are getting a home on the cheap.

And that brings me to one of the most important messages we continue to have for buyers. Yes, we understand prices are high, but I've yet to meet anyone in the real estate industry who believes that we will return to pre-pandemic levels. What we do expect is for the rate of increase to slow. That still means our $210,000 will likely be more next year.

But if sales are lower and inventory is rising, how can prices still rise?

It's not a mystical creation. Instead, it's because our inventory levels had dropped so low that even moderate increases are not enough to meet demand. Remember, we are still more than 1,000 homes short of where we were in 2019! And we still have buyers!

What is therefore occurring is that these buyers, while they can take a bit more time to make a decision with less competition, don't have a lot of choice. Therefore, sellers remain in the driver's seat.

Many, including our friends at Fairway Mortgage, are also projecting that interest rates will begin to drop by midyear. If this does occur, that will bring more potential buyers back into the market and likely strengthen price gains.

Here is how our market compares to the national scene:



(change over January '22)

Northwest LA

(change over January '22)

Median Price


$209,500 /+8%

Number of Sales

4.00 million/-36.9%





Month Supply



Median Days on Market




As I wrap up this blog, I want to reiterate how important it is for EVERY potential buyer, including first-time buyers, and seller to make an appointment for a free consultation with one of our agents.

We take great pride in being a valuable resource and that is one of the reasons why we have been the number-one company in Northwest Louisiana every year for three-straight decades. Our agents are highly trained, they are full-time and know our market inside-and-out. They are also incredibly caring and want to help.

And while you can spend hours researching online, it's likely only going to confuse you more. Instead, I urge you to get your questions answered even if you aren't quite ready to enter the market.

If you want to get even more insight, you can click here to get our Coldwell Banker Gosslee January 2023 Monthly Market Report.

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


If you're thinking of selling your home in 2023, you're going to want to read our 3 part plan to creating the most demand when listing your home for sale. More demand means more money in your pocket. 

Let's get started!

Part 1: Focus on selling a lifestyle

You're not just selling a home, you're selling a lifestyle! This means you'll want to think beyond square footage and room sizes and determine how to highlight the features of your home that will show the lifestyle someone will have if they live there. 

Ask yourself questions, such as what feature did you love most about your home when you bought it and which room do you spend the most time in. Share these answers with your Real Estate Agent so that they can market a lifestyle, not just a house!

Part 2: Stage to sell

Staging your home for sale is crucial to attracting the most buyers and generating the most interest in your home when it's for sale. Depersonalize and declutter so that potential buyers can more easily picture themselves living in the home rather than feeling like they're in someone else's home. 

Make sure to appeal to today's buyers. Talk with your Real Estate Agent about what updates or small changes will make the biggest impact to attract what buyers are looking for these days. 

Part 3: Have a pricing strategy

If you want to attract the most buyers as soon as that for sale sign goes up, it is important that you have a pricing strategy in place. 

Many sellers believe they should list their home slightly higher than what they hope to sell it for, but the problem is that doing this will only hurt your chance at attracting the most buyers. The problem is that it will decrease the number of interested buyers right when you list, could increase the length of time your home sits on the market and ultimately, decrease your sale price (less money in your pocket)!

What you feel your home is worth on paper might not necessarily match what the market is saying your home is worth. The current market and the buyers are who will ultimately determine the value of your home. Make sure you're being realistic!

These steps are crucial, so we hope that you remember them when you are preparing your home for sale. And, if you are looking for an experienced agent to help you, reach out to us today! 


Making Every Open House Count

There's never been more ways for motivated homebuyers to view properties, but no matter how efficient or convenient virtual property tours can be, nothing beats seeing a home in person. Open houses are the perfect opportunity to learn vital details about a home that will help you narrow your property search. Here are a few savvy tips for making the most your open house tour.

Get Pre-Approved

If you're serious about buying, then getting pre-approved for a mortgage will save you time and help streamline your open house process, so you only tour homes that are in your budget.

Know What to Avoid

Before heading into an open house, research common home issues in your area so you're able to watch for potential problems. Beware of interior red flags such as water stains, leaks beneath sinks, cracks in the ceilings or walls, uneven floors and evidence of mold or pests. On the exterior, check if the roof has any missing tiles and for any damage to outer walls. Speak to your agent, home inspector or local contractors to learn more about what to avoid.

 Ask Plenty of Questions

Be sure to ask the listing agent questions during the open house. They will be privy to any relevant details about the home that may not be noticeable. Depending on the state you're in, you should also obtain a property disclosure on the home (they're not required in every state), as it will have important information about the condition of the roof, age of systems, any known plumbing issues and more.

Have Your Poker Face Ready

Learn as much as you can at each open house but remain non-committal with the listing agent and avoid sharing any details about your home search or budget. At this stage, appearing too eager and disclosing those details can put you at a major disadvantage, especially if you wind up in negotiations with that listing agent. Likewise, it's best to avoid discussing the home with your fellow attendees until after you've left the viewing.

Make A Good Impression

When visiting open houses, you'll find there are typically requests from the owners, such as removing your shoes and not taking photos or videos. Always respect the rules, as it's in your best interest to make a positive impression with the listing agent, especially if you're serious about making an offer on the home. Be memorable by introducing yourself and making a genuine effort to learn about the property.

Find the Right Agent

When you're ready to buy, it's advantageous to find an agent that will represent your best interests. Do your homework before committing to an agent. Be sure to read their bio and client testimonials for a better look at their service and personality. The right agent will have invaluable insights to share and make the process more seamless.

While being mindful of these tips, remember to relax and enjoy the experience. You can use whatever you learn as a means of getting closer to the home of your dreams.


Curb Appeal: A Fresh Facade Makes a Statement

Maybe your perfect house was "new" a few years ago and it's time for a refresh, or perhaps you're just ready to mix things up a bit. Whatever your motivation for a mini home makeover, it's always smart to begin by focusing on the facade. Go beyond a fancy mailbox or a seasonal wreath and check out these signature upgrades for considerable curb appeal.

It's the Little Things

Maintaining the strongest and most attractive qualities of your home should be a priority. So before making any major alterations, take a good look at your front yard, walkway and facade, and figure out what could use some reimagination. Are the doorknobs losing their sheen? Could your off-white front door use a boldly hued coat of paint? And there's no need to stop there – adding a graphic rug, piece of cozy porch furniture or tasteful planters are simple yet surprisingly effective ways to alter the front yard vibe.

Add a Splash of Color

Speaking of greenery, a quick online search of gorgeous home exteriors almost always includes those with pert and perfect plant life. Dressing your home with its own corsage is a simple and often lasting way to beautify it. You don't need a botanical wonderland like the gardening enthusiast down the street, but manicured landscaping can make all the difference. Spruce things up by planting shrubs and perennials instead of annuals and zone-picky florals. Select bushes that will fill empty spaces, trees that will accent your home's peaks and native flowers that will add a dash of pizazz.

It'll Be Worth It

Now for the big stuff. Even if you ignore all the above and prefer a more minimalist landscape design, maintaining a clean, presentable front is of utmost importance and ensures your home will always be a welcome sight. If you're short on time, consider hiring a landscaper for routine lawn and yard maintenance. You can also make the exterior more enticing by pressure-washing the driveway, front walk and patio, using either a professional service or buying or renting a power washer. Your brick, wood or stone will thank you.

Let It Shine

Why not highlight your home's new style with landscape lighting? Check your local home improvement store for street posts, mountable lamps, and garden or walkway lights. While abundant lighting is the natural answer to nighttime, don't overdo it – you don't want to rival your hometown stadium, do you? Depending on the size, prices range from $10 per item and up, so do your research to find a great outdoor lighting business near you, or get into the DIY mood to set up your home for a show at dusk.

Making small updates and investments will ensure your home looks, feels and is well taken care of. Go ahead and use these tips, and if you continue to challenge yourself to improve your home's first excellent impression, your neighbors may feel challenged to match it!


10 Common Home-Selling Mistakes

If you're considering selling your home, you may believe it's an easier process than buying a house. While being on this end of the transaction does have its advantages, homeowners should be aware that it's easy to make costly errors. When you're ready to begin the process of selling your home, try to avoid these common mistakes.

  1. Get Too Emotionally Invested
    Even when emptied, your home is still full of wonderful memories. It's easy to remain emotionally invested in your home, and thus, let these emotions drive your actions during the sale. Always remember that you must remain professional at all times when selling your home.
  2. Over Pricing Your Home
    Because you care for your home so deeply, you'll likely overvalue its worth. While you do want to sell for the highest amount possible, overpricing it can turn away buyers and leave you losing money in the long run. Be sure to price is strategically in regards to its appraisal price and prices on comparable homes in the immediate area.
  3. Selling Your Home When You're Upside Down on Your Mortgage
    Unless you're in a situation that requires you to quickly sell your home, it's ill-advised to sell your property when it's decreased in value. You should always try to at least break even when selling your home.
  4. Taking Poor Photography
    The importance of high-quality photography and videography cannot be understated. With so many buyers shopping online, their first impression from the listing will be one of the main factors that influence their decision to walk your home. Make sure you invest in high-quality photography and videography for your listing and showcase your home beautifully.
  5. Not Staging It to Sell
    Whether you're ready to begin photographing the space for your listing or welcoming prospective buyers in for a tour, your home must be presentable. It should be thoroughly cleaned, staged, decluttered and depersonalized. Dusty corners, empty rooms, cluttered closets, and family photos can all turn away prospective buyers.
  6. Failing to Disclose Important Issues
    Selling your home is a legal transaction which is why it's vital that you're honest and transparent throughout. You must disclose all major (and many minor) issues with the home. This includes renovations, repairs, and any damages throughout your ownership of the property. It's better to be upfront about issues like repaired water damage and lose a potential buyer than to hide an issue and encounter legal troubles.
  7. Not Anticipating Selling Costs
    The goal of selling your home is to make money, but you must keep in mind that selling your home does include various costs. Photography, staging, agent commissions, repairs, moving expenses, and closing costs are just some of the many expenses that sellers must pay.
  8. Mishandling Multiple Offers
    If you're lucky enough to receive multiple offers, you must know how to handle them maturely and responsibly. Regard each as a potential selection and investigate the legitimacy of each. Weigh the pros and cons of the full loan; sometimes the "lower" offer may actually be more profitable in the long-term.
  9. Not Using a Real Estate Agent
    One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when selling their home is to think that they can do it alone. These transactions can be quite complex and attempting to handle everything on your own could actually cost you thousands more than necessary.
  10. Selling Your Home When You're Not Ready
    Perhaps the worst mistake that you can make is selling your home when you're not ready. If there's any hesitation or uncertainty, speak with a real estate agent. They'll help you objectively determine if now is the right time.

Real estate transactions can be complex and mistakes can be easily made when selling your home. Thankfully, these pitfalls can be avoided with a little forethought and help from a real estate professional.


Does Your Water Heater Need Replacing?

It's all too easy to forget just how essential hot water is to everyday life, at least until it's not there when you need it. Bathing, cleaning, and cooking are all dependent on your water supply, and when your water heater goes, it will likely be at a most inconvenient time. One of the best ways to avoid such a crisis is to recognize the signs that go along with a failing water heater. A simple but important part of your home's maintenance, making sure your water heater is functioning correctly and knowing when it's time for a replacement is easy if you know how to spot potential problems.

  • Leaks
    Home improvement experts know that one sure sign of a faulty water heater is visible leakage. If you notice water in the floor around the base of your water heater, it could be leaking. More than one reason will cause leaks; however,  the bottom line is that the appliance may need replacing.
  • Your Hot Water Isn't Exactly Hot
    If you notice the water coming from your hot water faucet is colder than usual, the issue may be with your water heater. The burner or element could be damaged from sediment or mineral deposits that build up over time inside the appliance.
  • Overheating
    A water heater that overheats your water or throws the breaker could mean trouble. Get a professional to inspect your water heater to determine if it needs to be replaced. Putting in a new water heater before your current one fails is not only smart, but it could save you frustration and further problems down the road. Having a new water heater installed is a relatively simple home improvement project, and many newer appliances offer energy saving features previously unavailable.
  • Visible Rust
    If you can see rust on the outside of your water heater, the chances are that it won't be long until it begins leaking if it hasn't already. Appliances may stand the test of time for a while, but none of them last forever. Once you detect rust on your water heater, it's just a matter of time until you'll need a replacement, and investing in a new water heater may prevent more significant problems and inconveniences for you and your family.

Whether you are a do-it-yourself type when it comes to home improvement projects or prefer to leave it to the pros, it's smart to check the condition and performance of your water heater on a regular basis. Preventing a hot water crisis in your home is a simple matter of being proactive.


Selling A Home? Don't Bother To Fix These Things

Most guides to selling a house will tell you all about the things that you do need to fix or upgrade, and for good reason. There are some things that every buyer will look for, and you don't want to fall short in those areas. However, there are also plenty of renovations and fixes that you don't need to worry about. Whether an item is simply not a priority for buyers or the cost of an upgrade doesn't match the expected return, it's a good idea to know what not to fix.

Selling A Home? Save Money And Effort By Skipping Unnecessary Fixes And Upgrades

The big thing to remember with upgrades is that the more you spend on a project, the bigger your risk if the taste of your buyer doesn't match your own taste. That rules out most major renovations unless the room is in such rough shape that it needs an upgrade for the home to sell.

  • Major Bathroom Renovations
    There's no doubt that buyers tend to look at kitchens and bathrooms first, but that doesn't mean you have to shell out big bucks for a full bathroom renovation. A full renovation is an expensive prospect, and the return just isn't enough to justify the cost. Many buyers even look forward to renovating key areas themselves when they move in, and the last thing you want is to invest in a major renovation that doesn't fit the buyer's taste.

  • A Brand New Kitchen
    Just as with bathrooms, making major upgrades to your kitchen is a big risk because you don't know if the buyer's taste will match your own. Rather than diving into big, costly projects, focus on making necessary fixes or small upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms for a better return on your investment. That way, your new buyer can spend their own money picking out cabinets, countertops, and anything else they desire.

  • Painting in Bold Colors
    While it's a good idea to touch up paint or even apply a fresh coat, you'll probably want to skip the bright, bold colors in favor of something tamer. You want buyers to be able to imagine their lives in your home, and that may be hard to do if the walls are painted neon green. Trends come and go, so stick with classic colors.

  • Upgrades That Don't Fit Your Neighborhood
    It's important to consider what other homes in the neighborhood have to offer because you don't want to upgrade the home to the point where your list price will be too expensive for the neighborhood where the home is located. Unless you're competing with upscale homes in an affluent neighborhood, too many bells and whistles may actually be a negative for buyers who are shopping on a budget.

  • Upscale Outdoor Patios
    Yes, many buyers will love having a nice patio in their backyard where they can host parties and enjoy the outdoors. But an upscale outdoor patio often costs more to install than you'll be able to recoup from your eventual buyer. This is another area where the buyer's taste might not match your own. Even if they do want a patio it's best to let them handle the job themselves.

If you have any questions about which fixes to prioritize, which to skip, and what matters most to buyers in your market, then your real estate agent should be your number-one source for advice. Working closely with your agent will help you focus your effort where it's most needed and simplify the process of selling your next home.


Buyers Will Text

There are countless reasons that buyers choose one home or another, but one thing is guaranteed: the final decision comes down to emotion. When selling your home, it's essential to do everything you can to help prospective buyers love the property and "see themselves" there.

Even if they are looking at many other properties, the one that resonates with them on a deeper level is the one most likely to finally close the deal. Luckily, you don't have to be a mind-reader to be successful in selling your home. With a few basic "best practices," you'll find yourself with big advantages in the market.

  • Get Excited About Staging
    Staging is one of the most valuable advantages anyone can have for positioning a home to move. A well-staged house sells up to 88% faster than one that has only been tidied up. Although in-person staging is worth it, there's a low-cost alternative — virtual staging — that produces a similar effect using enhanced photographs of a home's interior.

  • Dive into Curb Appeal
    Aside from location (location, location!), curb appeal is the most potent asset you can have on your side. It forms the first impression that would-be buyers will carry with them all throughout the process. Luckily, there are fast and relatively easy ways to do it: Power-washing exterior walls, a fresh coat of paint on walls and doors, and a little bit of landscaping.

  • Let There Be Light
    Light conveys an instant subconscious message. If buyers visit a space that seems too dark, they will imagine it as cramped, dreary, and smaller than it is. In advance of photography or any open house, replace your current light bulbs with more luminous ones. Don't be afraid to add lamps and fixtures throughout a home — and make full use of natural light where you have it.

  • Look into Energy Efficiency
    Energy-efficient fixtures, appliances, and temperature control systems are attractive to buyers since they lower a home's total cost of ownership. Electricity is one of the biggest household bills, so showing that yours is lower than the neighborhood norm will help your property stand out. A professional energy audit can provide concrete proof of the benefits.

  • Drum Up Buzz
    A lot of old-fashioned real estate marketing has gone out the window in the last few years. Still, there are creative ways to combine today's online marketing with other clever projects. Just to give one example, consider holding a garage sale as you're ramping up to put a home on the market. Not only will you declutter (helping your staging), but you may meet potential buyers.

  • Spend Time in the Kitchen
    Selling your home becomes a lot simpler if you have a sleek, modern kitchen to show off. Open-plan kitchens are growing popular, but just about any layout can be compelling if you invest in new appliances. A matching set of appliances might cost as little as a few hundred dollars, but it will take a big worry off the minds of your prospective buyers.

  • Clean and Declutter
    Getting items off the floor is one thing, but your best bet is to empty out the closets as best you can by moving items into storage. When closets are at least 50% empty, they look a lot more spacious. As for cleaning, it's a good idea to go the extra mile. For example, steam clean carpets, drapes, and upholstery, especially if you have pets.

Once buyers start telling their friends about a home, they are all but committed. These tips will help you unleash the "wow factor" and get those texts flying faster.


Buy A Home With No Money Down

Would you believe us if we told you that you can buy a home with no money down? It's true!

Here are some first-time homebuyer programs to know about.

1) FHA Loans:

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these loans are a popular option for first-time buyers. Why? Think low down payment options and flexible and income requirements.

2) VA Loans

These loans are available to eligible military members and veterans and offer competitive interest rates with zero down payment.

3) USDA Loans

Available to homebuyers in rural areas, USDA loans offer low (or no) down payment options, flexible credit requirements, and the option to finance repairs and closing costs into the loan.

4) State and Local Programs

Many states and localities offer homebuyer assistance programs, such as down payment assistance, grants, and tax credits. Ask your lender about local programs for first-time homebuyers. 

5) Homebuyer Education Courses: Some programs require first-time homebuyers to complete a homebuyer education course, which can help them understand the process and prepare them for homeownership. It may seem like a drag, but the more you know, the smoother it'll go!

If you're thinking of buying this year, take a deep breath and start exploring your options - homeownership is within reach. Don't forget, our experienced agents will be here when you are ready to take the leap!


3 Tips to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Gentle reminder today that curb appeal makes all the difference when selling your home. Buyers are super savvy these days and they are driving the neighborhoods and checking out your curb appeal before they ever reach out to their agent for a showing. If your curb isn't appealing, they are less likely to want to see what's inside. So...let's talk about it!

You know the curb appeal trifecta: mulch, seasonal color, and a pressure-sprayed driveway. But you're gonna need to add these three if you want to level up your outdoor game:


1) Illuminate walkways.

Would-be buyers are sure to do a nighttime drive-by (trust me, they will). Ambient outdoor lighting will have them oohing and ahhing. (Quick tip: Solar lights make this a cinch.)

2) Update porch lights.

Replace crooked, outdated, or rusty porch lights with something fresh and modern. Your local home improvement store and a couple of hours are all you need. 

3) Add seating with outdoor throw pillows.

Everyone dreams of a breezy afternoon in the yard, sipping a cold glass of lemonade. Add seating to give buyers an exact place to do just that. Have a showing? Add a pitcher and glasses to your front porch set up to really give them the feel of what it's like to live in your home!

Now...Time to get to it! 

Thinking of buying or selling this year? Reach out to us today! Our agents will be happy to help you with your real estate goals!


Man Caves and She Sheds ... Home Improvement Treasures

Deciding on how to best utilize a home improvement budget is never an easy job, and even less so when one is determined to have a man cave and the other has her heart set on building a she shed. Both projects have the potential to add character and comfort to your home, but don't underestimate the importance of understanding how each could affect your home's value and appeal in the future. No matter which project you ultimately decide on, be certain to make it a fun and creative endeavor.

Man Cave Madness

Man caves have been very popular over the past several years. It has been fairly common for men to have their own space to use as a personal retreat.  Sometimes the space comes in the form of a study or library and sometimes as a well-appointed shed in the backyard. Many modern-day man caves incorporate sports themes and hobbies and tend to be much more casual in their styling. You may be considering the basement, attic or even the garage for a man cave renovation, to provide a little distance from what's going on in the rest of your home. In many cases, a man cave may not add to the value of your home, as you may be simply redecorating the room and adding electronics. However, if you are altering the structure to accommodate the remodel, it's wise to assess whether any changes will negatively impact the home's future value and attractiveness to potential buyers should you decide to sell. 

She Shed Fever

Most women rarely have a space of their own to use as a private getaway, especially if they have children at home. It's hard to put a true value on a content wife, although it's been said that a happy wife equals a happy life. She sheds are rapidly gaining popularity among homeowners, and the idea gives birth to an entire range of creativity in building and decorating a special place just for her.

A she shed can actually add value to your home in that it's a separate structure, and if crafted and decorated in a way that complements your property, can become quite the attractive feature to visitors, prospective future buyers, and of course to you! Decide how you want your she shed to look and feel, and begin by deciding on its architectural design. Depending on your home and landscaping, you might choose to build a mini cottage or cabin or opt for something more modern and open. You'll want the space to reflect your tastes and personality, so put some thought into how you will furnish and decorate your personal retreat.

If you plan on using your she shed for a hobby in addition to relaxing, be sure to consider how much space you will need and how best to store any necessary tools and supplies. Consult with a builder or designer to get your project going, and be sure to clearly explain your vision for the space. The most important factor in creating your she shed is to make it a place that you will enjoy using and that it is comforting and inviting to you.

Whether you decide on a man cave or a she shed, make it a part of your home that will be not only utilized but treasured!


How Credit Scores Impact Your Interest Rate

There's no doubt that a strong credit score makes it easier to secure a mortgage with favorable terms when buying a house. The higher your credit score, the lower you can expect your interest rates to be, which can translate to significant savings over the life of your loan. A damaged credit score, on the other hand, can lead to higher interest rates, and make it difficult to qualify for certain types of loans without repairing credit first. Understanding how credit scores impact your interest rate is an important step in securing a mortgage for your next home.

  • Risk-Based Pricing Highlights Importance of Credit Scores
    The mortgage industry is largely based on risk-based pricing, which means that the cost of your loan goes up based on your level of credit risk based on the lender's calculations. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and to qualify for a conventional mortgage you'll typically need a score of at least 620. Where your score lands between 620 and 850 has a big impact on your interest rate, so it's worth keeping your credit history as clean as possible.
  • What's a "Good" Credit Score and How Do You Learn Yours?
    While standards vary between lenders, most agree that a "good" credit score checks in at 670 or above. Unsure of your credit score? You can request a free copy of your credit report once per year, allowing you to see your three major credit scores. After the first annual report for each bureau, additional reports in the same year require a fee. HUD-approved housing counselors can also provide you with a free report, and help you review it.
  • How Lenders Use Credit Scores to Calculate Interest Rates
    Higher credit scores lead to lower interest rates, and lower credit scores lead to higher interest rates. A higher score increases the lender's confidence that you'll make payments on time, while a lower score presents increased risk to the lender. The difference between a 620 and 750 credit score could lead to a half-percent increase in rate, which may not sound like much but ultimately makes a big difference.
  • A Small Change in Rates Makes a Big Difference Over Time
    Even a change of half a percent in your mortgage rate can ultimately make a major impact over the life of your loan, and the potential exists for even larger gaps in interest rates based on credit score. That half-percent difference, over the life of a 30-year mortgage, could add more than $20,000 to the total cost of the loan.
  • How to Repair a Damaged Credit Score
    If your credit score could use some work, the ideal time to start is before you start shopping for a loan. Make all payments on time, resolve old debts, and review your credit report to look for inaccuracies. If there are inaccuracies in your report, resolve them with the relevant credit agency.
  • Protecting a Strong Credit Score Before Buying a House
    If your credit is already in great shape, make sure you don't do anything to lower it before shopping for a mortgage. That means it's best to put off big purchases and new lines of credit until after you're done buying a house.

While your credit score impacts many facets of the mortgage process, the biggest key is in how it affects your interest rates. A higher credit score ultimately means lower interest rates, and that's a big win financially long-term when buying a house. Even if your credit has seen better days, there's plenty you can do to get your score in shape before pursuing a mortgage.


Kitchens Sell Houses

The kitchen is the heart of a home. This is where meals are made, families eat together, and all the hustle and bustle of the holidays happens. So it may come as no surprise that the kitchen is one of the top places to update when selling your home.

When you update your kitchen, you'll get more of your investment back when you sell the home. On average, sellers get back 70 or 80 percent of the cost of the updates. The updates you choose do matter, though, so here are a few things to focus on.

  1. Paint
    There's no better way to brighten your kitchen than a fresh coat of paint. Stick to light neutral shades to keep the kitchen bright and leave room for buyers to envision their own color schemes and decor. Think beyond white to shades of cream, beige, and tan. If your cabinets are in good condition, a few coats of paint and a change of hardware can give them a whole new look.

  2. Cabinetry
    Nothing makes a kitchen look dated faster than old cabinetry. If the cabinets aren't in good enough condition to be repainted, you can give them a major facelift by refacing them. Completely new cabinetry should be a last resort, as the added expense may not be reflected in the returns.

  3. Appliances
    One of the top things to update when selling your home is your kitchen appliances. A full set of new, matching appliances is a strong selling point in any home. Opt for something neutral--stainless steel is always popular with buyers. Energy Star appliances can turn some heads, especially with younger buyers, who tend to be more energy conscious.

  4. Granite
    Granite is another kitchen upgrade that you're likely to see a high return on when selling your home. Buyers love seeing granite countertops. You don't necessarily need to upgrade with the most expensive options. You can always opt for something that looks similar to granite, like quartz with a granite pattern.

  5. Flooring
    Think of your kitchen floor as setting the stage for impressing potential buyers. Drab or dated flooring can detract from any other updates you might make in the kitchen. Budget permitting, install high-quality flooring that will turn people's heads, like attractive, high-quality tile. Want to make your kitchen look bigger? Set the tile on the diagonal to create a space-stretching optical illusion. Hardwood is another favorite with buyers, even in kitchens. If you have hardwood underneath your linoleum, consider uncovering it and having it refinished.

Make a Strong Impression

The kitchen is possibly your best chance to impress potential buyers, not to mention one of the few areas of your home where your investment gets the biggest return. Even so, you'll want to do it right for maximum impact. While updating these five areas, make sure you're staying true to your home's character, architecture, and neighborhood. If you need help deciding what updates to make, your real estate agent can help guide your decisions.



By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

I love writing this monthly blog and our Coldwell Banker Gosslee Monthly Market Report. I'm a numbers guy and therefore enjoy the statistics as they show where things stand in Northwest Louisiana. I also enjoy seeing how we stack up each month to the national numbers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

I hope I'm able to help area buyers and sellers get a sense of what drives prices and the opportunities each side may have.

This month, I want to take a different approach. I want to address each group separately. I'll weave in some stats but put the charts at the bottom so you can look at them separately.


  • Let's start with sellers since they remain in the driver's seat when it comes to negotiations. That's because we still have a major shortage of available homes.

We are seeing this lack of inventory play out across the nation. Northwest Louisiana happens to have an even tighter supply than what NAR reports nationally. Even though we ended the year up about 20% in supply, we are still way below the norm. There were a total of 937 homes on the market as we entered 2023 in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes COMBINED! Four years ago, it was 2,068.

There are several reasons why inventory remains low.

The first is that so many refinanced during the recession and currently hold mortgages with all-time low rates. They don't want to give up that low monthly payment. Additionally, the low rates created a unique opportunity for so many to move earlier than they had originally projected.

  • Along with fewer homes coming on the market, those that do are still selling quickly. Sales last month sold in 30 days. While this is not the off-the-charts fast pace of last year's 12 days, it is still incredibly quick.
  • Home prices are holding their value. We know this by the "sales price to list ratio." As I've shared previously, this stat shows how effectively agents and their clients are setting a sales price. While the "top of the market" may have peaked and we do not have the same number of multiple bids that drive up prices, sellers are currently getting 97.4% of their list price – in line with traditional norms. This means a home listed at $300,000 would be expected to eventually sell at $292,200.

We ended 2022 with a median price in our three parishes (the middle of all homes sold) of $211,000. Our average price was $234,173. These were up 6% over 2021. This percentage increase did come down as last year progressed (it was still in double-digit annual returns in June).

Sellers should understand that while they are reading about falling home prices in certain parts of the nation, we are not seeing that here. Home prices are still rising. They just aren't doing so at the same pace as they once were. And, even if they do come down, they are doing so off all-time highs.

Therefore, the key word for sellers today is "equity." If you have owned your home for at least three years, you have likely seen your home value rise significantly. In fact, those who bought their home four years ago have likely made at least $50,000!

  • While sellers do have the upper hand in negotiating, we are seeing them also being more proactive in attracting buyers. This makes a lot of sense as we are no longer in the "feeding frenzy" where almost every home that went on the market quickly attracted a list of prospective buyers. Therefore, sellers are working with their agent to potentially make upgrades in their home to attract buyers along with agreeing to some types of concessions during the negotiation phases.
  • I could go on-and-on about the state of the housing market and, while I recognize the need for a look at the stats, the one piece no data point can share is WHY people are interested in selling their home.

During the recent housing boom, we saw so many able to move up their selling timeline. They may have taken advantage of the work-from-anywhere phenomenon, moved to a larger home in a better school district or near family and friends, decided to move to their retirement destination or other reasons. They likely benefited from all-time high prices and all-time low mortgage rates.

But not everyone was ready, willing or able to make a move at that time. They also may not have had a reason to. But that could change.

Life events almost always trigger why people sell their homes. It could be marriages/second-marriages, children and growing families, school-based decisions, job promotions and new jobs, along with retirement and medical needs.

  • To anyone who is thinking about selling, you owe it to yourself to learn what to expect during the process, starting with what your home is worth. We have a great feature on our website ("Home Values" in the search bar) that gives you a broad estimate, but until one of our agents sits down with you and gets into the "nitty-gritty," you won't have a firm handle on pricing. Don't assume that the AVMs (automated valuation model – like our tool or Zillow's Zestimate) understand the day-to-day local market conditions. They don't.

An appointment with one of our agents is also an opportunity to learn. In a more normalized housing market like the one we are in now, selling a home requires a lot of work and decisions including how the home is shown from "curb appeal" to the inside, how it is marketed to reach potential buyers, including the photography, video, promotion and advertising and so much more. That is why our Coldwell Banker Gosslee 10-point marketing plan is critically important.

Don't get "paralysis by analysis." You could be on the web non-stop, and you still won't learn as much as you would in a short conversation with an agent.


  • OK buyers! It's your turn. Now that you've read how sellers are approaching their process, let's talk about yours. Let's start with the financials. First of all, remember that over the last several years a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage was the norm. Rates were low and you could "lock-in" for the long haul. There was little need to look at other mortgage options. 

That has changed. As I've shared before there are plenty of ways to get the financing you need. This is where talking with one of our agents is a great first step. Not only can they explain the process, but they can connect you to a reputable mortgage professional who can answer your questions.

The mortgage companies - like our partners at Fairway Mortgage – understand the challenges buyers may have today and have developed programs that help make the monthly payments affordable. And, as rates are projected to fall at some point this year and into next year, refinancing is an option.

  • Once you understand the mortgage side, now you can begin looking at the "how much house you can afford." This is a crucial step. While our inventory is still low, we have more homes available than even a few months ago. But you may find that prices in one of your favorite neighborhoods have risen out of your price bracket, so you may have to look at others areas. Think of it as trading "price for commute." That means you get the house, but you may have drive a bit further to get to work and other amenities. And you are now in the homeownership game, almost always a better option than renting.
  • I want to address the price of homes from a buyer's perspective. Obviously, you want them to come down. But there are a few things to consider. First, there is no indication that home prices will drop to their pre-pandemic levels. Instead, the pace of price increases will likely slow. Over the last several years, Northwest Louisiana saw home prices increase annually by double-digits. This was abnormal for us. Normally prices rise each year by a "Steady Eddie" 2-3%. 

That is where we are likely headed. That means that the homes you are interested in today might be 2-3% more expensive next year. 

So why wait? The biggest reason is to save for a down payment. The more you save, the less you owe. For example, if you were interested in a $240,000 home and saved 10% for a down payment ($24,000), using a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage at 6% and assuming no extra fees, your monthly payment would be $1,295 a month. If you saved 20% ($48,000), you monthly payment would be $1,151 a month. 

Now let's look at waiting a year. The $240,000 home would now be about $245,000. So now, to get to the 10% or 20% down payment goal, you would need to save more. And your monthly payments would be $1,322 or $1,175. 

But here is the rub. If you are renting, you are not gaining equity. If your rent is $1,000 a month (not including utilities and other fees), essentially that $12,000 for the year is gone. If that was going towards a home, you build equity. When you eventually sell your home, you will get what the home is worth at that moment minus what you still owe your lender. 

In our $240,000 example, let's assume it appreciates 3% annually and is now worth about $268,000 in four years. When you sell the home, you would have made $28,800 minus what's left on the mortgage. That's equity. 

  • The rising mortgage rates have obviously priced out some potential buyers. This is slowing the pace of the market. Fewer buyers at the lower-end limits the number of "moving-up" sellers, which eventually slows the pace of home sales at the higher end. 

But with less competition, qualified buyers (those with the financial means and pre-approved for a mortgage) are enjoying the ability to have more time to make a decision. That's why our time on market rate has risen from 12 to 30 days. But, as I said, earlier, we still have a lot of buyers who are still looking at a limited supply. 

Most buyers are once again entering the market because of a particular life event - including engagement and marriage along with the reasons I mentioned above. To show you that buyers are still active, realize that there were 5,101 homes sold in our three parishes in 2022. While this was down 15% from red-hot 2021 – and even with mid-year mortgage rates rising – it was the third busiest market EVER! 

  • It is therefore so important to know what you "must have" in a home vs. "want to have." That list will be incredibly helpful. 
  • Let me close this buyer portion in the same fashion as I did with the sellers. I believe it is critically important to speak to one of our agents before you even fully enter the buying process. They will help you learn what you can afford, how the mortgage process works, what types of homes are currently on the market and at what price point. Our agents are an invaluable resource. 

Finally, we are starting to see more and more open houses. Over the last few years, homes were selling so quickly that open houses were sometimes rare. We have a great tool on our site that shows which open houses are being held each weekend along with where each is located so you can map out your visits. And, when you get there, make sure to talk to our agents. Even if you are only beginning the process, they will be happy to talk and even set up a time to have a lengthier conversation.

I hope this was helpful. Please reach out to one of our agents or feel free to reach out to me at bgosslee@cbgosslee.com.

Here are the charts!

This one shows how we compare with the nation:



(change over December '21)

Northwest LA

(change over December '21)

Median Price


$205,000 /+1%

Number of Sales

4.02 million/-34.0%



970,000 /+10.2%

937 /+22%

Month Supply



Median Days on Market



This chart indicates the number of 2022 sales in various price brackets. Notice that sales are off our 2021 record pace in almost all sectors except for the higher end. We will likely soon see a shift there too.

Price Range

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

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

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

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


5,101 (-15%)

2,068 (-14%)

2,846 (-17%)

187 (-3%)

$100,000 & less

764 (-12%)

    185 (-14%)

548 (-12%)

31 (-24%)


1,609 (-26%)

493 (-29%)

1,063 (-25%)

    53 (0%)


1,536 (-13%)

762 (-12%)

738 (-14%)

    36 (0%)


657 (-4%)

394 (-2%)

230 (-8%)

33 (+11%)


288 (-7%)

148 (-2%)

119 (-16%)

21 (+17%)


   118 (+17%)

    51 (+16%)

57 (+4%)

10 (+400%)


129 (+9%)

35 (0%)

91 (+17%)

3 (+400%)

Finally, this chart breaks down how many homes are currently on the market broken down by price points. By comparing today to four years ago, you can really grasp how low our inventory is.

Price Range

December 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

December 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply




$100,000 & less




















Staging Tips That Will Help You Sell This Spring

Whether on television, at an open house or on the pages of a magazine, we've all seen stunningly outfitted estates that deliver a true wow factor – and listing price – that properties without staging just cannot match. Buyers quickly fall in love with homes that have a strong character while wordlessly conveying the lifestyle they would enjoy if they lived there. Before listing your property, consider that proper staging is one of the most important factors in enhancing your home's appeal and most flattering features.

First Things First

 In order to entice potential buyers, you must think outside the box – but to start, examine what needs to be done to get your home in showplace shape. Check under older carpets for lovely hardwood, survey the ceiling for cracks or leaks to seal, consider having the pool or tennis court resurfaced and focus on boosting your curb appeal. Once your home is a clean slate, you are ready to begin.

 Neutral Rules

When using achromatic tones on painted walls and furniture, ensure that the staging pieces do not distract from the form of the home. When staging for luxury, color psychology can signal buyers that they're working with a discerning seller who has elevated the home to its full, indulgent potential.  

In the world of interior design, fashion and luxury vehicles, neutral colors have always made a recognizable statement of power, sophistication and confidence. Once you're prepared to stage your home, you'll want to highlight those qualities with the crème de la crème of design – blacks, grays and whites. 

While buyers will always notice houses with splashy displays, that doesn't necessarily mean they will find them appropriate for their tastes. Staging experts often use furniture, rugs and paint in neutral hues (also consider beige and pale, cool colors) to help buyers overlay their own creations onto the scene and more easily discover the home could be the perfect fit.

Character Is King

Often, a seamless introduction to the home involves pairing décor with architectural personality. Envision how Old-World pillars and stonework are beautifully complemented by gold-framed art and Turkish rugs, and contemporary interiors effortlessly show off leather, wool or velvet furnishings and unique accents as statement pieces. When hiring an interior designer to get the job done, seek out a professional with not only expertise, but also an imaginative mindset.

Now to address spatial issues. For smaller sitting rooms, offices or charming nooks, instead of cluttering the area to make it appear as if much can be done with the layout, take a more minimalist approach to ensue that each individual piece has room to breathe and directs attention to the space itself.

On the other hand, if you have a cavernous room, think about creative ways to section it off and separate it into more manageable areas with rugs or furniture in unique arrangements. The same approach can be applied to unusually shaped rooms.

Attractive Accents

While a visually busy room is an easily avoided faux pas, keep in mind that going completely neutral is not the answer either. In order to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between sensible furnishings and handsome décor, decorate with stylish accents that lend a perfect finish to any lifestyle.

Any artwork on display should be minimal and tasteful, so buyers can easily picture how they will customize the space on their own, and personal items like family pictures, sports memorabilia and other personal items should be stored.

When a buyer enters your front door and explores the home room by room, they'll be thinking about how they will personalize it with their own touches, and how much of a transformation might be needed to get it suited for them. With beautiful furnishings in place and just the right level of flair, they won't have to work very hard to visualize their new life – and that gets them one step closer to making your house their new home.  



6 Steps to Finalize Your Mortgage

Three of our favorite magic words are "clear to close."

One of the last steps in your home purchase before closing day is to finalize your loan. But before we do that, let's back up and review what you can expect from your lender. 

The mortgage process is different for every buyer, but can usually be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Pre-Approval: Your lender will run your credit score and pull your credit history to determine a loan amount for which you qualify. This allows you to set an accurate budget while home shopping. 
  2. Home Shopping: While house hunting, partner with an agent you trust. National real estate websites aren't always up to date, and don't show 100% of the available inventory on the market. 
  3. Mortgage Application: Once you submit an offer and it's accepted, you'll complete a loan application, submit the required documentation and enter the underwriting process. 
  4. Loan Processing: Loan processors gather information about the borrower and property, review the application and assemble a package for the underwriter. They'll open the file and get the following wheels in motion.
  5. Underwriting: The underwriter is the key decision maker in the loan application process. They will review the borrower's credit history and ability to repay the loan, and then decide to approve or reject the loan. 
  6. Clear To Close: Once you get the all-clear, you'll schedule your closing and final walk-through. On closing day, you'll sign a lot of documents to complete your purchase, and the title company will complete the recording and funding of the loan. 

Once you've been pre-approved, and have an accepted offer, the process generally takes anywhere from 30-45 days and involves a thorough evaluation of your credit history, income, assets and documentation.

Once everything is in order and your application has been processed, the mortgage underwriter will approve the loan and your lender will issue a "clear to close." Now, it's time to schedule your closing date. 

In just a few more days, you're going to be a homeowner! 


Rookie Mistakes That Can Bench Your Home Sale

The decision to sell a home isn't one to face lightly. Going through with it means undertaking one of the most complex processes you'll ever undertake. Luckily, the help of a real estate expert simplifies things and makes it a lot less stressful. Still, researching the topic is always a good idea.

The more you know, the easier it'll be to make informed choices throughout the "game." Your real estate pro can offer you expert advice, but the final decision is always up to you.

Let's look at some of the most common "rookie mistakes" that can send your sale to the dugout:

  1. Rushing Your Agent Pick
    Selecting an agent is one of the most important things you'll do in the course of a sale. Your choice will likely affect every stage of the home sale. How your home is staged, listed, and marketed all come back to your agent — so take time to find an agent you can work well with.

  2. Setting the Wrong Price
    Poor pricing can add eighteen months to your sale timeline. Homeowners bring a long, emotional history to price question. On the other hand, a good agent will use knowledge of the local market and trends to find the ideal price: One that helps you reach your profit and timeline goals.

  3. "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO)
    This may be the single biggest mistake sellers can make. It invites all kinds of problems — from buyers seeing you as a target for rough negotiations to paperwork issues, few people are prepared for. It puts legal liability for a whole host of issues directly in your lap, too.

  4. Waiting to Spruce Up the Home
    There are many things you can do, even on a tight budget, to make your property much more appealing to would-be buyers. A quick coat of exterior paint, a new doorknob, and a touch of landscaping supercharge curb appeal. For a bit more, think about adding new kitchen appliances.

  5. Forgetting to Clean and Organize
    Before a home hits the market, it should be thoroughly cleaned. Pressure cleaning the outside is a must. Interior carpets and upholstery should be steam cleaned, especially if you have pets. Start moving items out of the closet and into storage early on to make them seem bigger.

  6. Neglecting to Stage the Home
    When you really want to sell a home fast, staging is your secret weapon. Staging breathes new life into a home even if it has some factors working against it, potentially adding thousands to your selling price. It's more than fresh-baked cookies, though, and is best handled by a pro.

  7. Not Looping In Your Mortgage Lender
    Your current mortgage situation goes a long way toward telling you what your sales goals should be. Only your lender can give you all the details you need about loan payoff and how paying early might affect you. Be wary of early payoff penalties that some lenders require.

It may sound complicated to sell a home, but it doesn't have to be a hassle. A real estate agent who specializes in homes like yours will be a team player throughout the process. Experience is essential! Now, play ball!


Home-Buying Guide for Newlyweds

Instead of being a property renter, you can build equity as an owner. You can decorate, remodel or upgrade your home however you please. If your life plan includes children, they'll have a green space to play and entertain friends close to home.

Before you begin your home-buying quest, you should understand the process of buying a house and the personal commitment necessary to make it happen. That's why we created this Home Buying Guide for Newlyweds. Use it as a framework for discussing basic home-buying concerns. 

  1. Decide if you really want to buy a home
    Never buy a home because your mom says so or because it seems like the grownup thing to do. A home is a major investment. Long after you've paid your closing costs, it will add a lifetime of expenses to your budget. If you 're ambivalent about your home-buying decision, wait until you're ready.

  2. What kind of home do you want
    When you're buying a house, it's a good idea for you and your spouse to agree on what kind of house it should be. Discuss architectural style, age, landscaping, bedrooms, and amenities. Detail the must-have features that are critical to your comfort and well-being.

  3. Decide where you want to live
    The National Association of REALTORS® 2017 home trend study reported that buyers under age 36 planned to keep their homes an average of 10 years. If you follow this national trend, you'll want to make certain your home will fit your lifestyle today and in the future. To avoid a love-hate relationship with your new home, investigate the community before you decide to buy.

    - Crime and safety trends
    - School district standards
    - Recreation area safety
    - Questionable neighbors

  4. Know how much can you afford
    Sit down with your spouse to discuss your income and what you can afford. Review any life circumstances that might affect your future ability to pay.

  5. Discuss your credit
    You should know your spouse's financial profile before you tie the knot. If you bypassed that discussion, it's important to get the financial details before you consider buying a house.

    - Credit score
    - Outstanding debt
    - Assets
    - Income
    - Savings

    If there are hidden financial skeletons in either spouse's closet, they could haunt you when the mortgage company assesses your ability to repay your loan. When you know and understand your credit profile, you can take steps to repair your credit ahead of time.

  6. Get a mortgage pre-approved letter
    After you've addressed your financial details, it's a good idea to seek mortgage pre-approval before you begin your home search. Your mortgage company will assess your credit, determine your ability to meet their financial standards, and issue a letter confirming your pre-approved status.

    Sellers and their real estate agents know you're serious about buying a home when you show them proof that you've consulted a mortgage company. They'll be more willing to consider your offer and negotiate a deal.

  7. Consider loan programs
    If you're ready to buy a home but your finances aren't perfect, these government-backed loan programs may be able to help you with financing.

    - Federal Housing Authority
    - Fannie Mae
    - Freddie Mac
    - Veteran's Administration

    You may qualify for a low-interest rate or a reduced down payment. These programs are flexible in assessing your credit, income and work history.

Work With a Real Estate Professional

Contact your real estate professional when you decide that buying a house is the right decision for you. An experienced agent has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the home-buying process.


The Case for Repurposing Your Space

It's almost criminal — leaving rooms in your home underutilized. While navigating the obstacle course of life, there are a host of reasonable factors that lead to this common home-functionality transgression. Now is the ideal moment to repurpose what you have and reinvent such spaces.

A desirable feature of yesteryear, the formal dining room is now often deemed obsolete by many homeowners, who allow it to morph into an underused or wasted space. A contributing factor is the evolution of the kitchen into a multi-functional communal area. Fortunately, the size and central location of this former principal gathering room typically allow for plenty of practical new purposes.

Similarly, extra bedrooms are always useful – until they aren't. These rooms typically boast prime real estate within a dwelling, yet unless you frequently host overnight guests, they easily befall the sin of neglect. If it's become rare for you to have stayover visitors, the space is well worth repurposing to revive and add value to your floor plan. It's your oyster for all sorts of possibilities!

Any of the following suggestions could inspire these rooms' next roles. Here is a curated collection of the most actionable and relevant ways to inspire an uplifting transformation in your dwelling's neglected spaces.

Serious Business

Particularly with recent shifts to a work-from-home situation, savvy homeowners have taken to the idea of repurposing their dining room into a home office. Adding a desk, shelves and a few chairs – perhaps from the dining table set – will easily convert an outdated area into a place dedicated to work or remote learning. Get creative with this project and give the room a true makeover with a bold new paint color, wallpaper and artwork throughout the reimagined space.

Child's Play

If you have young children, consider creating a designated play area. You can maintain organization in the room by adding a colorful chest of drawers, whimsical hutch or handy bins for toys and game storage. Be sure to incorporate plenty of comfortable seating, and perhaps even a television to enhance the capabilities and fun factor.

Hobbyist Lair

Bibliophiles and audiophiles, rejoice! A dining room or spare bedroom could be reinvented into a library or combo listening studio. Any treasured books or magazines hidden away in boxes or spread among various coffee tables throughout the house can be placed on stylish display on dramatic floor-to-ceiling shelving. An essential here is at least one ultra-cozy chair. Vinyl lovers can add a turntable and settle in for undisturbed contemplation. Further elevate this converted space by introducing an elegant bar cart or armoire bar cabinet.

Mindful Movement

Fitness-focused households might find another use for an underutilized space – and pounce on the opportunity to build out a home gym. Relocate or sell any unneeded furniture, and as a first step for those with wood flooring, try laying foam mat overtop. Double down on the quality of this transition by installing a full-length mirror. Then comes the fun part: Decide which machines, weights or other equipment would optimize the revitalized room.

Every square inch of your residence matters, so if you discover any areas that have become abandoned, focus on the primary needs and functions that best serve you and your family – and reference these tips to get the most out of your space.


The Ten Commandments of Buying a Home

To make the buying a home a little less stressful, learn the Ten Commandments of Buying a House.

  1. Maintain Steady Employment. Lenders like to see job stability. It's important for at least one of the applicants to hold a steady job. And the longer you stay at the same job, the better it looks when applying for a home loan.

  2. Limit Bank Account Activity. When you apply for a home loan, you'll need to produce bank statements. Lenders look for consistency each month, like steady deposits, regular bill payments, and no erratic spending.

  3. Continually Monitor Your Credit Score. This is so much easier than it used to be. Gone are the days of waiting for your free, yearly credit report to arrive in the mail. Websites are available to help you monitor your credit score--even offering great tips on how to improve it. 

  4. Postpone Large Purchases. Unless you have money to burn, now is not the best time to purchase a car, motorcycle, new furniture or anything else that might make a lender nervous. The bank questioning a large purchase could slow down the loan application process.

  5. Save for a Down Payment. The sooner you start this, the better. A 20 percent down payment is what's recommended. Even if you qualify for no down payment, it's in your best interest to put some money down.

  6. Only Consider Homes Within Your Budget. We're all guilty of wanting more. But taking a peek at what's just a touch over your budget can be dangerous. Don't torture yourself. Embrace what you can afford.

  7. Research Various Neighborhoods. It's a good idea to visit different areas, even ones that may not be on your radar. Check what traffic patterns are like, where the schools are, quality of grocery stores, things that will make your everyday life more comfortable.

  8. Get Pre-Approved. Once your finances are strong and stable, it's a good idea to get a loan pre-approved. As a buyer, this gives you more leverage when the seller knows things aren't going to fall apart on your end after you make a bid.

  9. Resale History. While investigating the neighborhoods, review not only the resale info on the home but other comparable homes in the area. Have they gone up in value? How long do they sit on the market? Is there a cluster of homes up for sale in the same neighborhood? Your REALTOR® can help you with these questions, and the answers may give you better insight into what's happening in that area.

  10. Find a Real Estate Agent you Like and Trust. When you find a REALTOR®, you will share a lot of personal information with this person-- not to mention spend many hours with them.  It's important to have good chemistry. And remember, thou shalt not carry the entire burden yourself. A great agent is always ready to help their clients through every step of the process. 



Why You Should Use a Realtor to Sell Your Home

For many people, owning a home is one of the largest financial transactions they'll make, which is why 87% of sellers rely on an agent to be their guide1. It's estimated that real estate agents play more than 150 roles during an average home transaction, so it's best to leave it to the pros.

Real estate agents know how to sell your home quickly and for the best price. Successful sales balance four components: the market, price, condition of the house and exposure. Because agents know about market trends and the other houses in your neighborhood, they're well equipped to play up your home's advantages and downplay disadvantages.

In addition, a skilled agent will:

  • Help determine an asking price that will make your home competitive
  • Offer recommendations on how to prepare your home to attract attention, from staging and curb appeal to small home repairs that can make a big difference
  • Market your home to people who are most likely to buy your home
  • List your property on the Multiple Listing Service, so buyers can easily find it online
  • Represent your needs and negotiate the best deal possible
  • Help you navigate the many services you may need during the process, such as appraisals, inspections, home repairs, title, mortgage, home warranty and insurance
  • Be readily available to take your calls and answer any questions

There is also a financial advantage to using an agent:

  • Homes that are offered for sale by the owner (FSBO) typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes. FSBO homes sold at a median of $225,000 in 2021, which is significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $345,0002.
  • The average Coldwell Banker® listed property sells for 20.7% higher than the National Association of REALTORS® average price3.

If you are selling your property and plan to purchase another home, your real estate agent will be a valuable partner to help ensure everything goes smoothly. In fact, 53% of sellers nationwide use the same agent to purchase their next home3.

Contact your Coldwell Banker affiliated agent today to discuss listing your property for the spring selling season.



Selling Your Home During The Winter Has Its Advantages. 

Let's debunk the myth that you should wait until spring to sell your home.  Historically, spring is the busiest real estate selling season; however, people do buy homes 365 days a year.  Dave Ramsey, America's trusted voice on money and a national best-selling author and radio host, reports homes listed in the winter have a nine percent greater likelihood of selling, sell a week faster and sell for more money.

Here's how selling your home during the winter months can work to your advantage. 

  1. Less competition
    The widely held belief that spring is the best time to sell a home leads to a greater influx of available homes hitting the market. Consequently, prospective buyers have a larger inventory of homes from which to choose. Listing your home before spring improves your odds of selling it at a higher price without a lot of competition.

  2. Better exposure of your home
    With fewer listings on the market, your home will get more attention from real estate agents and may appear in more buyers' internet searches. 

  3. Corporate relocations
    Companies often relocate workers during the first quarter of the year. Selling your home to someone relocating for work can help you obtain a higher sales price. These buyers are motivated to reach an agreement and are eager to move.

  4. Fewer yard maintenance worries
    Selling your home during the spring or summer requires you to be vigilant about yard care so that your house looks its best for every potential buyer. Listing your home during the winter requires investing less time and money in lawn and landscaping expenses.

  5. List in February, sell quickly
    A national study that analyzed listings, sales prices and time on the market found that winter is the best time for sellers to list their home. The study found that 66 percent of the homes listed in February sold within 90 days. A higher percentage of homes sold for above list price during winter months compared to those listed in June or later.

Winter home buyers tend to be serious shoppers. They are motivated and may not be interested in doing a lot of browsing. Regardless of what time of year you list your home, if it is priced right and shows well, it will sell.


Questions To Ask An Agent Before Listing Your Home

According to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, most home sellers hire the first real estate agent they meet.

Now, that might not necessarily be a bad idea if you happen to meet a great agent right out of the gate, but selling your home is a big move, and it's important to choose your listing agent carefully.

To find the best agent for the job, you need to ask questions — and not just "how much will you get for the property?" and "what will the commission be?" Include these questions during the interview process:

  • What are your credentials?
    A real estate agent should have a state license and belong to the local real estate trade association. You may also find someone who is a licensed REALTOR® (a member of the National Association of REALTORS®), which requires additional training and a strict code of ethics.

  • Do you specialize in my neighborhood?
    Local expertise is crucial. Your agent needs to have in-depth experience in your local real estate market, including inside knowledge about any upcoming developments that might affect the value of your home.

  • How many homes have you sold in the last year?
    Past performance doesn't always ensure a quick sale, but you'll be able to put your mind at ease knowing that your agent has a track record of success. Ask about how much these homes sold for, so you know that your agent has experience selling homes in your price range.

  • How do you determine the listing price?
    The "money talk" is the make-or-break conversation for many home sellers. It's important that your agent can help you land on a listing price that you feel good about but is also appropriate for the market. An underpriced home doesn't give you the profit you deserve, but an overpriced home could end up languishing on the market. Be sure you understand how the agent arrives at a price for your home.

  • What's your sales plan?
    Your agent should have a plan laid out for marketing your home. Mailers, listing services, open houses, and social media are all important.

  • What will it cost me to sell my home?
    From broker's commission to closing fees, there are a number of costs that can really add up when you're selling your home. Find out what it will cost, and compare from one agent to the next.

  • Will I be working with you directly?
    There's a balancing act between working with a specific agent and a team of agents. Either way, you'll want to know for sure whether you'll be working with one specific agent or a member of the agent's team. It's also important to know how you will be communicating with your agent.

  • How long will it take to sell?
    No agent can say exactly how fast any home will sell. The national average is 65 days, but this depends on a variety of factors.

Your goal should be to an agent with whom you are confident and comfortable with and who can sell your home quickly and at the right price. Ready to put your home on the market? Reach out to a Coldwell Banker Gosslee Agent today!

Bossier City Office (318) 747-5411  |  Shreveport Office (318) 861-2461


The Top Reasons Why People Move

Life is constantly changing — relationships, jobs, children, and family. All of these things cause shifts in our lifestyles and, more specifically, where we live. People relocate to a new home for a number of reasons: career, relationships, family, finances or just for change itself.

Here are nine reasons why people move:

  1. Larger Home
    Upsizing is one reason people move. A couple that decides to start having children soon realizes that their initial home no longer meets their growing family's needs. As children grow, there is a need for extra bedrooms and living space. The more children added, the greater the need for a larger home with more bedrooms, bathrooms, and a larger yard.

  2. Downsizing
    When children grow and leave the home, some parents opt to downsize and relocate to a smaller, more manageable house.

  3. Homeownership
    Homeownership is still very much a part of the American dream for many people--and falls into our "top 10 reasons for relocating" category. While homeownership comes with a number of responsibilities, it also comes with opportunities too, like creating your dream home, enjoying your personal lifestyle, and having peace of mind.

  4. Change in Relationships
    Personal relationships often cause people to move. Whether you're starting a new life as a couple or starting over after a divorce, these life events cause people to move. Another reason could be a death in the family, causing you to move from a home holding too many memories.

  5. Change in Employment
    Job promotions and company relations may cause people to move from their current homes. If a new job requires extensive commute times, many people find it easier to move closer to their new place of employment.

  6. Change
    Some people change... for the sake of change. Moving to a new town or state gives people the chance to add excitement to their lives. They have the opportunity to make new friends, experience new things, and explore new career paths.

  7. Financial Reasons
    The cost of living varies from one place to another. When a family faces a financial crisis, the logical thing to do is move to a convenient but less expensive location. At times, the move to a more affordable house or location is just a measure to cut down on spending and save more.

  8. Better Home
    As income increases, so does the tendency to want better things. A better home falls into this category. After years of hard work and wise spending, upgrading to a better, newer home is often the ultimate reward for many people.

  9. Schools
    Good school districts should be a top priority for people with and without children. Homes located in a good school district provide families with children the best chance at a top education. And for people without children, buying a house in a good school district helps optimize the home's future resale value.

No matter the reason you move, the right real estate agent can make the process that much easier. Talk to your local agent today about the steps you need to make for a stress-free move.


Home Design Trends for 2023

In recent months, the world has re-energized, and hope has bloomed in ways that many had not experienced since before this decade began. In contrast, shifting economic and global conditions have awakened and heightened certain sensitivities. This age of extremes has given way to a curious range of design ideas. From eclectic and new to natural and nostalgic, here are some of the most notable home design features and themes we expect to see in the year ahead:

Bring the vacation to you. After nearly two years of limited travel, a sense of wanderlust has arisen for many. Yet, rather than actually traveling to fulfill this urge, savvy decorators have opted instead to create an escape within the residence. With a continued desire to revel in the comforts of home, many have embraced the idea that venturing out truly isn't necessary to achieve that breezy, revitalizing experience. Using warm wood tones, bright light and airy linen curtains and furnishings, abodes will have rooms – both indoors and out – transformed in the style of beachy resort destinations and dreamy European villas.

Connect to nature and the present. People are recognizing the need to be more present and peaceful in the moment and are erring toward pragmatic sensibilities in lifestyle and functionality. Fostering security and balance continue to be key, but with an emphasis on the senses – which translates into the use of natural textiles and rare materials in home décor such as crude clay, terra-cotta, handcrafted finishings and glazed tiles made from organic materials. Color schemes are inspired by nature and the desert theme has gained in appeal, incorporating gentle colors such as beiges and greys. The trend additionally translates to comforting, tactile interior designs that blend organic shapes, arches and irregular forms to create a cozy, warm aesthetic. Such biophilic design will continue as a trend. In fact, you may even consider adding a full-sized tree to the kitchen – olive trees are favored – to add an impressive fixture and create a Mediterranean or rustic vibe.

Embrace opulence and idiosyncrasy. In a distinctly disparate tone, an "anti-neutral renaissance" has simultaneously gained traction, influencing home interiors. For those on this opposite end of the spectrum, minimalist fatigue has set in, driving the desire for extravagance and affecting a mood for glamour. A major theme for the new year is celebrating individuality, so unique touches, unconventional decorative fabrics and elements will reign. Think luxe jewel tones, whimsical details and embellishments galore. Expect striking visual effects in homes such as curvy and geometric shapes, fanciful rugs, monochromatic rooms in vivid shades like baby pink – as well as two-toned cabinets in contrasting colors. Emerald green, cobalt and rust are expected to be top interior colors in the coming year. Hellenism and antiquity will also see a surge in popularity, so Corinthian-style furnishings, statues and wallpaper motifs will be highly sought after.

Statement stone. Combining aspects of the two aforementioned trends, another desirable style in 2023 will be the use of unexpected stones in surprising ways. Anticipate colorful marble in creative reds, corals, deep blues and jewel tones. Exotic types of porcelain, soapstone and granite will be used throughout the home in a variety of ways: Subtly – as serving platters, side tables or nightstands – and dramatically – as accent walls, tables, bathtubs or countertops that transition into bold backsplashes – to incorporate as standalone art or a stunning focal point.

Whether you feel like a daredevil or crave simplicity, the coming year boasts a menu of delights to fulfill the moods and needs of many appetites. We hope you're inspired to customize and love your residence more than ever in 2023.


Nine Things That Top a Millennial Wish List

There are many misconceptions about what drives Millennial homebuyers to make an offer on a property. When you are selling your home, cutting through the "wrong" ideas can make your home more appealing to this highly motivated demographic. As you prepare your listing, the following are nine things that are at the top of a Millennial buyer's wish list.

  1. Room to Grow
    The majority of Millennial homebuyers are around 30. They are eager to settle down and start a family. This means they want a property with an extra bedroom or two, a yard, and enough space for them to put down solid, stable roots. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms within a 2,500 square foot home is an ideal property for this demographic. 
  2. Value for the Money
    75% of Millennial homebuyers view homeownership as a good investment that can create wealth over the long-term. As a result, selling your home to a Millennial buyer requires demonstrating that the property is likely to continue appreciating.
  3. Location Matters
    For Millennials, location is more than just a good neighborhood that is close to good schools and shopping. It also entails places that are close to public transportation or within walking distance of where they work, grocery stores, parks, etc.
  4. Technologically Up-to-Date
    Many Millennials work from home and require a reliable internet connection and cellular network. Connectivity is crucial when selling your home to Millennial buyers. Furthermore, homeowners who invest in smart features including smart home security systems, smart thermostats, etc. can set their property apart from the competition.
  5. Energy Efficiency
    With energy bills rising across the country, energy efficiency is something that transcends demographics. Millennials are cost-sensitive to energy bills for many reasons. These include environmental awareness and the desire to apply the savings towards other purposes including investments, vacations, etc.
  6. Stylish and Appealing
    Setting the stage for Millennial homebuyers is essential. When selling your home to Millennials, they want to see modern home decor. This means color schemes that are stylish, newer appliances, furniture placement that opens the rooms up, and an absolute minimal level of bric-a-brac throughout the home. Modern traditional is the most commonly desired type of home for Millennial homebuyers.
  7. Outdoor Space
    Millennials love to entertain and relax at home. They want landscapes that are well-kept and suitable for entertaining guests, and they want retreats where they can rest and recharge after a long day at work. Towards this end, homes with large patios, spacious decks, outdoor kitchens, and a bit of grass are ideal features to promote when you are selling your home.
  8. Minimal Maintenance
    Millennials are a busy group and don't want to spend any more time trimming trees, fixing roofs, or dusting shelves than is necessary. The lower the maintenance requirements of the home, the more appealing it is to millennial homebuyers. Similarly, Millennials are highly sensitive to HOA fees and rigid HOA requirements. In this regard, they want minimal financial obligations and plenty of creative flexibility when it comes to their home.
  9. Modern Kitchens & Bathrooms
    It is possible that no generation in history has enjoyed cooking at home more than millennials. Millennials want name brand stainless steel appliances, six-burner ranges, wine-coolers, dual ovens, solid wood cabinetry, sustainable stone countertops, and plenty of room to gather and socialize with family and friends. This trend continues in the bathroom where glass shower doors, stone counters, and brushed nickel fixtures are appealing features that millennials will look for when you are selling your home. 

The Difference Between An Appraisal And Comparative Market Analysis

Before you engage in any real estate transaction, you need to know as much as you can about the home's value. There are two related but distinct processes that help people pin down the valuation of a property before they move forward: comparative market analysis and home appraisal.

Both of these will be performed at different steps in the sale process. Knowing the difference between the two can save you some valuable time.

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
    comparative market analysis is typically performed by a real estate agent. Thanks to MLS, real estate pros have the opportunity to compare your home to others that have sold in your general area. Selling prices, time on market, home improvements, and square footage can be used to determine an approximate value of your home.

    When a CMA is completed, it will provide you with a low, medium, and high selling price for your home. It will also give an estimate of the average number of days your home may be on the market.

  • Home Appraisal
    The home appraisal is paid for by potential home buyers — either out of pocket or as part of the fees they will ultimately finance in their mortgage.

    An appraisal of the home is performed after the buyer applies for a loan with a bank or other lender. Once the buyer submits an offer and requests financing, a licensed appraiser is dispatched.

    All practicing home appraisers must be licensed or certified by the state. Although they visit a property at the request of the bank, appraisers are intended to report neutral observations about each home. The comprehensive report they compile helps to determine the home's fair market value.

    This protects the bank from lending too much money for any given home.

    Though an appraisal will include some basic information on the home's condition, more time is spent on recent information about similar listings and housing market conditions in the neighborhood.

    Minor repairs and renovations performed before an appraisal can help raise the home's assessed value.

CMA Versus Home Appraisal: Final Considerations

Both a comparative market analysis and home appraisal provide valuable insights that help you and your real estate agent move toward a successful sale. Assuming a property spends only a moderate amount of time on the market, each usually needs to be completed only once.

Sometimes, however, a lender might request a new appraisal even if the previous appraisal was only a short time ago. You might even get a CMA before you make a final decision about selling your home. Each situation is different.

An experienced real estate agent can help you by ensuring you're equipped with an accurate CMA. Plus, when the time comes to prepare for an appraisal, they can guide you on the most important steps to raise your home's value in your budget and timeline.

As with anything in real estate, the sooner you get started with selling your home, the smoother the process.


Savvy Ways to Increase Your Home's Value

Whether you plan to be in your home for just a few more months or many more years, there are plenty of efficient ways to maximize your space and increase its value. This type of investment needn't require a loan, nor does it have to span any great length of time. From green living to greenery in your yard, here are a few impactful and straightforward means of boosting your home's value and appeal over the short or long term.

A Smart Move

Green is the new black. Any form of energy efficiencies and conservation in your home will inevitably be a fiscal gain. Whether you install energy-saving window treatments or solar panels, both options can reduce utility expenses for you and any future inhabitants. When it comes time to replace appliances, a prudent decision would be to select a "smart" model of said item, which can significantly lower long-term energy costs.

While on the topic of efficiency, a wise investment would be installing "smart" devices throughout your property. Think digital features such as automated blinds or shades, security cameras, door locks, security lighting and thermostats. When you're ready to sell, the smart tech will appeal to buyers with a penchant for the added value of convenience and connectivity.

Wide Open Spaces

Create visual space in rooms by keeping them clutter-free and organized, which can be solved by simply installing a stylish shelving unit to keep extraneous items out of sight. Seek the help of a professional organizer who will be bursting with innovative ideas to optimize the storage areas in your dwelling.

Another way to increase square footage without a renovation is to let the sunshine in! Avoid heavy drapes and instead, use modern window treatments that add height such as roller, Roman or cellular shades. Similarly, you can position a decorative floor-to-ceiling mirror in any room to visually double your space.

From the Bottom Up

Explore the possibility of replacing the flooring in a few key spaces. A unique, beautiful and buzzworthy material is cork, which is also known to have antibacterial properties. If you opt for new surfaces under your feet, consider installing radiant heating simultaneously. These systems not only add optimum comfort, but are also aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient.

Make an impact through your lighting choices. Utilize contemporary or dramatic fixtures to complement each room. Whether you choose minimal or eye-catching designs – the right piece in the optimal locale can add intrigue and substance to your residence.

Kick It Up a Notch

Significant updates to your kitchen and bathroom are sure to boost value. Modern appliances and updated décor increase appeal to buyers, so consider a new backsplash or that roomy farmhouse-style sink you've been eyeing. Think one step further and install a water filtration system to add practicality and luxury to your dwelling. Additional elements like stylish sconces, a new vanity or a vintage mirror can elevate functionality and increase allure.

It's Only Natural

Consider your front and backyard. If there is an area that would benefit from some striking landscaping or creative plantings, explore your options or consult with a professional landscape architect or designer. Executed well, a garden or other natural elements in your yard can become lovely extensions of your home's indoor atmosphere.

When you look around, there are many ways to enhance the comfort and appeal of your property that will serve you well as a resident – and add value one day when you're ready to sell.


5 Things To Stash Before Your First Open House

Once you've listed your home for sale and are getting ready for your first open house, there are five things you need to stash away for safety.

Your home is going to be more open than ever as agents begin showing it to anyone with an interest in buying, so keeping valuables protected is essential. Follow these tips before that first open house.

  1. Put Away All Personal Information
    Before your real estate agent schedules the first open house, take a walk around your home and look for any documents or papers that contain personal information. Make sure you do not have any credit card statements out, phone numbers, and even your college diploma should be taken down. These documents and papers should not be visible to the strangers that will be entering your home. The best solution is to keep these personal items in a locked drawer or cabinet with a key you take with you.

  2. Remove All Spare Keys
    Many of us have those handy key holders by the door, so we can easily find a key when needed. When selling your home, these become possible threats to your security as someone can easily take them during an open house and return later to enter your home illegally. All spare keys should either be with you or locked in a secure box or cabinet to remain out of sight.

  3. Daily Life Items
    Some of the items we use in our daily life may give prospective buyers the wrong idea about your home. If they see earplugs lying by the bedside, they may believe the neighborhood is noisy and hard to sleep in. When potential buyers see fans scattered throughout the house, they will think it becomes too warm, or space heaters will indicate it is hard to heat. These types of items allow prospective buyers to use their imagination as to why you have them, and the ideas they generate are usually not favorable to your house. Before that first open house, you need to tuck these items out of sight.

  4. Remove Any Political Endorsements
    Remove all political endorsements when you are selling your home, even those tucked away on a bookshelf. Buyers have been known to turn away from a potential purchase just because of a simple campaign sign they saw in a yard.

  5. Medications
    During an open house or when you have a scheduled showing, you should never leave any type of medication in plain sight. Even though your medicine cabinet has a door, this does not make your medication safe. The nightstand next to a bed is also a place looked for by anyone wanting to gain access to your prescriptions. All medications should be locked up in a storage container and concealed from sight.

When you are selling your home, there is no way to avoid opening it up to strangers. It is an essential piece of the selling process you cannot remove. When you are ready to open your home to prospective buyers, make sure you have stashed valuable and important items and have found a way to secure them.


5 Tips for a Healthy Work-From-Home Routine

Higher productivity, less stress, more free time – working from home offers plenty of benefits. It also comes with the challenge of rethinking your daily habits while prioritizing your mental and physical health. If you're looking for ways to improve your 9-to-5 routine, try these five simple ideas.

  1. Bring the Outdoors in

We all have an innate need to connect with nature, and organic materials, shapes and colors have been proven to positively affect our mood. If possible, set up your office near a window and incorporate biophilic design elements into the space. A rug made of natural fibers would be perfect to put your desk and chair on. You could hang up artwork or a wall calendar that features outdoor scenes. Plants also help create a calming vibe with the added benefit of improving air quality.

  1. Get Comfortable

Sitting for long periods of time can lead to serious aches and pains, so you want to carefully consider your office setup. Invest in a comfortable chair that offers lower back and arm support and pair it with a desk that can be adjusted for standing or sitting. You also want to maintain good posture, so position your keyboard at or just below elbow height and parallel with your forearms. Using a mouse pad with wrist support is another easy way to lessen muscle strain.

  1. Keep Moving

Although your job may require you to be in front of a computer for most of the day, you don't have to remain totally sedentary. Try swapping your chair for a yoga ball. A balance board allows you to strengthen your core muscles while standing, and an under-the-desk elliptical machine is a great option for light cardio. You could also walk around while you're on the phone and do some simple stretches during breaks to help shake off stiffness.

  1. Stay Hydrated

To keep your energy up through the afternoon, you should avoid high-caffeine beverages that temporarily perk you up but make you crash later. Opt instead for mineral water, which comes in a variety of flavors, herbal tea or organic energy drinks. You could also invest in a smoothie blender and create your own delicious combination of fruits, grains and yogurt to enjoy as a late-day treat.

  1. Relax When the Day is Done

Allowing yourself time to wind down from a busy schedule is very important. When you've logged off for the day, go for a bike ride, head to the gym or take your dog to the park. Half an hour of low-impact yoga in a designated "relaxation zone" is another healthy way to destress and mentally prepare yourself for tomorrow's challenges.

As you continue to improve your work regimen, always keep your mental and physical wellbeing in mind. Establishing good habits ensures a happy and sustainable professional life.



By Brad Gosslee, President, Coldwell Banker Gosslee

The pandemic impacted our lives in so many ways. We learned and we adapted. And – in the world of real estate – we got used to all-time low mortgage rates which, along with the newfound ability to work-from-anywhere, fueled a housing boom. Sales went to near record levels, and because the supply of available homes dropped to record lows, prices rose to all-time highs.

We entered 2022 still in that frenzy. It stayed that way for several months as we had so many buyers looking at too few available homes. Multiple bids were the norm, thus the rise in prices. But that changed as mortgage rates rose reaching a crescendo in September when they were near 7%. That was a long way from the 3%-3.5% range we got used to for the last few years.

As we enter into another new year, we are doing so in what I'm calling a "wait-and-see" housing market.

Many buyers have retreated and homeowners are reluctant to sell. At the same time, prices continue to rise, but not at the same levels they once were. As I look at the state of the market, it's apparent that the normal buyer vs. seller behavior isn't happening. Remember, in usual market shifts, buyers retreat, and more homes come on, and stay on the market as price gains slow. This isn't occurring. Instead, we've essentially stalled.

Our "wait-and-see" market has some buyers moving to the sidelines hoping that mortgage rates and home prices will drop. At the same time, homeowners may not have an urgency to list. This result: less buyers, a minimal increase in inventory and continued rising prices.

Let me break this down:


Because home prices rose and now, we have higher mortgage rates (they've come down to near 6%), many potential buyers have been priced out of the market.

The National Association of Realtors in its most recent Existing Homes Sales report shared that U.S. November home sales were off 35.4% from a last November. In fact, the annualized sales figure of 4.09 million is the slowest pace of sales since Great Recession-impacted November 2010 (outside of the pandemic-caused economic shutdown that gripped the nation for a few months in 2020).

Locally, we are seeing similar activity. While November begins the traditional holiday-season slowdown, this November was especially slow in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto Parishes. There were only 317 sales, down from 401 in October and 29% off last November's 446. We are also behind the five-year November average of 381 sales.

Also, while homes are staying on the market longer today, we are still at a dramatically fast pace compared to historical levels. Our median time on market for November sales was 23 days, up from 11 a year ago. This is still really quick.

Digging a little deeper into buyer behavior, it is not surprising to see the greatest slowdown is in the lower-priced home sector. This potential group of buyers is most impacted financially by higher monthly mortgage payments. Sales of homes priced at $100,000-or-below are down 13% while those between $100,000-$200,000 are down 25% year to date. Even those between $200,000-$300,000 are down 11% over last year.

But so far, we haven't seen the impact at the higher end as the affluent and those who have built up equity, are still buying. In fact, there were 37 homes sold at $400,000-plus levels in November which was ahead of last month's 31 and about even with September's 39.

This chart shows what has been occurring so far this year in our three parishes. Notice the negative numbers are not as high in the luxury sector and the positive sales gains are only at those higher levels:

Price Range

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

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

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

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


4,793 (-14%)

1,951 (-12%)

2,670 (-15%)

172 (-2%)

$100,000 & less

715 (-13%)

    176 (-10%)

511 (-14%)

28 (-3%)


1,509 (-25%)

463 (-28%)

997 (-23%)

    49 (-22%)


1,450 (-22%)

720 (-10%)

697 (-12%)

    33 (+0%)


613 (-2%)

369 (+0%)

213 (-6%)

31 (+11%)


273 (-4%)

142 (+3%)

113 (-12%)

18 (+13%)


   1 10 (+21%)

    47 (+15%)

53 (+8%)

10 (+900%)


123 (13%)

34 (+6%)

86 (+19%)

3 (-400%)



This is the group driving the "wait-and-see" market. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors explained the reason they are not selling is that they don't need to. While many may have recently purchased a home during the low mortgage rate period, others may have historically low mortgage rates and may be reluctant to give up extremely low monthly payments. Therefore, they are remaining on the sidelines.

We see this play out in the number of homes on the market. While we have jumped up from an all-time low of 667 in April, we currently still have only 1,030 listings. Thankfully we've been over 1,000 for the last three months, but our normal monthly rate is between 1,800-2,200 available homes. This means buyers have dramatically less choice. Less choice equates to a sellers' market and continued higher prices.

You will notice that our monthly supply of homes has risen to 2.4 months from 1.8 a year ago. It was 4.9 months in November 2019 before the pandemic. This rise, while helped by the increase in listings to the 1,000-range, is largely because of buyer pullback as we have few sales.

It is also important to understand that Northwest Louisiana remains tighter than the rest of the nation where there is a 3.3-month supply.  

We are returning to more normal times when people buy and sell for lifestyle reasons including engagements, weddings, growing families, new jobs and promotions, becoming empty nesters, retirement and illnesses. Here's an interesting nugget. The National Association of Realtors recently shared that 8% of all sellers last year indicated they moved for retirement, up from 5% a year ago.

It is important for potential sellers to understand that while the top of the market is in the rearview mirror, home prices are still ahead of last year. We still have buyers buying and homeowners have likely seen their equity rise as prices locally exploded with double-digit percentage gains over the last few years. This was far beyond our traditional "Steady Eddie" pace of 2-3% annual increases. We still need many more homes to come on the market for the "sellers' market" to end.

The below chart looks at our current inventory levels and show how far off they are from a "balanced"" market of 5-6 months where neither buyer or seller has a negotiating advantage:

Price Range

November 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

November 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply




$100,000 & less




















The national median price for November (the middle of all homes sold) was $370,000, up 3.5%. Locally, our November median price was $215,000, a year-over-year increase of 11%.

Buyers and sellers both must understand home prices. First of all, we are likely not going to see a collapse in home prices. Instead, the price gains will slow.
Realtor.com projects that 2023 will bring an increase of 5.4%. This means today's $215,000 home would be $226,610 next year.

The reason for the continued increase is supply vs. demand. As I shared earlier, we still need more homes to come on the market. Until they do, buyers have fewer choices and sellers retain the negotiation advantage. They may give some concessions, but still are in the lead.

Also, one of the reasons prices dropped so dramatically during the Great Recession was the foreclosure crisis. The market was flooded with homes for sale and prices plummeted. In fact, before the Great Recession, there had never been a year when home prices dropped from the previous year.

But we are not in this type of market as only 2% of all sales in the U.S. were foreclosures or short sales.

Therefore, most experts agree that prices will likely continue to rise, even if they move up even slightly. Many buyers recognize this and are taking advantage of less competition to purchase a home while working with a lender to ensure the lowest possible monthly mortgage rates.

As we enter the last few days of 2022 (I will report on December sales next month), I wanted to show you a look at how ONLY November and ALL of 2022 compares to the to the previous year.

Through the first 11 months of the year, there were more than 4,700 homes sold in Northwest Louisiana. We will likely finish with the third strongest year in history. Our prices are showing positive gains of 7% (about double what our traditional appreciation is) and homes continue to sell quickly.

The snapshot of November ONLY shows a similar story. Our price increase over last November was almost three times that of the U.S. while our sales, while off dramatically from a year ago, were not as low as the nation's. And in what we hope is a good sign, our inventory did increase more than the country as our sales pace is almost the same.


Northwest LA

(2022 vs. 2021 YTD)

Median Price

$212,000 /+7%

Number of Sales


Median Days on Market





(change over November '21)

Northwest LA

(change over November '21)

Median Price


$215,000 /+11%

Number of Sales

4.09 million/-35.4%



1.14 million/+2.7%


Month Supply



Median Days on Market




All of us at Coldwell Banker Gosslee hope you have an enjoyable last few days of 2022.

We can't thank you enough for allowing us to help with your housing needs and for once again making us the top real estate company in Northwest Louisiana!

Happy New Year!

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

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


5 New Year's Resolutions for the Home

Instead of repeating New Year's resolutions that you'll never keep, this year try setting a few home improvement goals. You're certainly aware of the typical "paint your front door" advice for a quick home improvement, but you can save the prettying-up for spring and address the basics now. These resolutions will have an immediate impact on your daily quality of life and help you go into the new year worry-free.


If you consider your kitchen the beating heart of your house, cook up some ways to perform preventative maintenance on your appliances. Machines that receive the brunt of day-to-day use (the refrigerator, dishwasher and stove) deserve a deep cleaning and a checkup. Make sure to thoroughly clean behind and underneath them and address any operational issues so you can plan for necessary repairs or replacements.

Improvement Idea: Give your kitchen a little TLC by having the countertops resealed and installing a backsplash.

Living Spaces

There's nothing quite like settling into a room that's refreshed from top-to-bottom with spotless windows and floors. Consider renting a floor cleaning machine or scheduling professional services. Furniture with upholstery should get a good steam treatment, and walls could likely use a wipe down to erase months (or years) of smudges and stains. Once you're finished, your home will look, and more importantly, feel as good as new.

Improvement Idea: To keep floors clean and cut down on the amount of dust particles, irritants and floaters in open areas, consider using air purifiers, entryway shoe racks and robot vacuums/mops.


Whether it's your hobby space, tinkering spot or storage for miscellaneous items, the garage is often looked over when it comes to home upkeep – so bring this "out of sight, out of mind" space into the spotlight. Take inventory of everything inside your garage. If you have any unwanted items, set them aside for donation or get rid of them. For everything else, reorganize and declutter by prioritizing items you use often and storing away items that are used sparingly.

Improvement Idea: If you have a bare garage floor, consider having a professional coat it with paint, concrete sealant or epoxy.

Think about a big project that you haven't had time to get to or have been putting off. Are there leaves or debris still sitting in the gutter? Should a pressure washing be scheduled in the upcoming months? Could the landscaping use a touch-up? Once you have a game plan, you can buckle down and tackle these projects one by one.

Improvement Idea: If now isn't the best time to deal with outdoor projects, calling around to gather info/quotes and set dates is a simple first step to getting these chores taken care of.

To-do lists for home are never exciting, but by setting aside a time allotment for each area, grabbing some help (with the promise of a reward) and setting up your favorite music playlist, you can lighten the load. You'll finish up with the pride of knowing your home has been renewed and well-kept for the months to come and be proud that you actually kept your New Year's resolutions this year!


How Much to Budget for Home Repairs

Whether you're a first-time buyer or experienced homeowner at some point you'll need to make home repairs. And those repairs will cost money. It's something first-time buyers often don't think about ahead of time and experienced owners may have learned the hard way. So budgeting at least some money in advance for these expenses is a must. Here's how to figure it all out.

Common Budgeting Approaches 

The first step is deciding how much to save for home repairs. Here are a few different ways you can approach budgeting.

  • Save 1 to 3 percent of the price of your home per year. That means if your home was $200,000 you should devote $2,000 to $6,000 per year to your home repair budget. This rule is based on a per year average over a longer period of time. Some years you'll spend less and some years more. Depending on other factors, you may want to be on the lower or higher end of that range.
  • Save $1 per square foot per year. This makes sense because larger square footage means there is more house to keep repaired. For a 2500 square foot house that comes out to $2,500 per year.
  • A basic budget plus a project specific budget. If you know a major repair is a few years out, use the average costs in your area or actual estimates for those repairs and break it down into payments. You'll still need money to cover the little repairs too, but knowing you need to save at least $300 per month to make that new roof a reality in a few years can be a starting point. Your budget can change a little based on the projects.

Adjusting the Basic Budget for Your Home

Once you have a starting point you'll need to adjust your budget to account for the specifics of your home.

  • Age of your home. Older homes often (but not always!) require more upkeep costs.
  • Current condition of your home
  • Climate. Climate variances can make your home more likely to need certain repairs. Knowing what you're likely to see down the road can help you adjust your budget and take the necessary preventative measures.
  • Exposure to extreme weather and the possibility of storm damage.
  • Single-family vs. condo or townhouse. Condos and townhouses have a lower repair budget because some of the costs are covered by your homeowner's association fees or project specific fees.

Add 10 percent of your basic budget per year for each factor that increases the likelihood of repairs. For example, a basic budget of $2,000 per year for an older home in an area where bad weather is common, would increase that budget to $2,400 per year.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use a separate savings account and automatic deposits. Designating a separate account specifically for repairs and setting up automatic deposits or transfers makes saving easy. Don't tie up this money in long-term investments, you'll want to be able to access it immediately if you need it.
  • Use a budgeting app. It can help you cut costs on everyday expenses so you can divert that money to your home repair budget.
  • Consider DIY projects. Many smaller home repairs require only basic skills that are easy to learn. Just be realistic, and do your research ahead of time. Save calling the professionals for the big jobs.

While no one can guess exactly what your home repair costs will be, being prepared and budgeting in advance will save you lots of headaches later and allow you to enjoy the benefits of homeownership for years to come.


First-time Buyers - Should You Buy a Home or Renew Your Lease

It is time to renew your lease or buy your first home? It's a question every renter faces at some point, and the right answer for you depends on a number of important factors.

Choosing the right time to buy your first home makes a world of difference because preparation is crucial. If your finances are in order and you're ready for homeownership, deciding to buy your first house can be an exciting, rewarding decision. Let's take a look at factors that will help you decide whether to renew your lease or become a homeowner.

How Do You Decide?

  • Are you prepared financially to buy a house?
    This is the big question because even if everything else is in order you will still need solid finances in order to buy your first home. There are programs available to help first-time buyers qualify for loans. FHA loans may allow you to secure a loan with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent. Consider whether you have the savings to make a down payment, the steady income to pay your mortgage, and cash for the other costs like moving, furniture, and property taxes.

  • How's your credit score looking?
    Your credit score is a big factor in your ability to qualify for a mortgage with favorable terms.  You don't need perfect credit to buy a house, but you'll want to make sure that any outstanding debts or other credit issues are addressed before applying for a mortgage.

  • Have you chosen a location that fits your needs long-term?
    Shopping for the right neighborhood is often just as important as shopping for the right house.  It helps to have a solid idea of where you'd like to live as you enter the housing market. Consider your employment needs, preferred entertainment options, family needs, school district, and anything else that is important to you in the community where you want to live.

  • Are you ready on a personal level to own a home?
    For many renters, the decision to go from leasing to owning coincides with personal milestones like starting a family or finding a career with long-term financial security. Unfortunately, there is no equation to help you decide if you're ready to buy; however, if you feel like now is the time and your finances are ready, you'll be prepared to approach purchasing your first home with confidence.

  • Are you willing to compromise to get what you need?
    No matter how many homes you buy, there are always compromises involved. Are you willing to live on a budget to have the cash you need for mortgage payments and home expenses? Have you prioritized wants/needs when it comes to your desired home and neighborhood? Answering these questions will help you decide if now is the time.

There are financial and personal benchmarks that can help you decide whether the time is right to buy a home. Owning a home is rewarding in so many ways, from being able to customize your home to your heart's content, to the equity you can build by owning a home of your own.


Selling a Home in the Winter

Traditionally, spring is the most popular time to sell your home. In the winter, temperatures start to drop, people begin hunkering down, and home sellers see fewer buyers and lower offers. 

However, like most things last year, the real estate market continues to be different in 2021. In fact, cold temperatures are unlikely to put a damper on this hot seller's market! Low inventory, low-interest rates, and a rash of serious buyers who want to upgrade their homes as soon as possible have created the perfect situation for would-be sellers. 

While the odds are certainly in your favor right now, there are a few things you can do to help you get the most out of your winter home sale. Start with these six tips. 

  1. Get Your Pricing Right
    You might think the current economy would require you to price your home on the lower end, but that's not the case at all! In fact, listing prices have skyrocketed. Pent-up demand and a low inventory of homes for sale have combined to push home prices up. This means you're more likely to get offers at or above your asking price. It's always a good idea to work with a qualified real estate agent who can help you choose the perfect price point for your home before you list it. 
  1. Make Sure Your Home is Ready
    Most of today's buyers are looking for a move-in ready home. Few people are going to be excited about having to start a renovation or remodel in the middle of winter, so if you're looking to sell now, make sure your home is turn-key. If you can make some small repairs and upgrades before you list, it will improve your home value and justify a higher price. 
  1. Highlight In-Demand Features
    Buyers' needs have changed since life has shifted towards spending more time at home. Now, more than ever, people are looking for homes that have plenty of space, privacy, and flexibility. If your home has a great backyard or a room that can convert to a home office or classroom, make sure your real estate agent highlights these features both in the listing and during showings. 
  1. Provide Virtual Tours
    Many potential buyers are hesitant to visit a home in person unless they're already sure they love it. This means the virtual tour is now one of the most important tools for marketing your home. Finding an agent who is an expert at creating an online presence will help you attract more potential buyers and get better offers.
  1. Take Your Time
    The current market conditions make it likely that you'll receive multiple offers on your home, possibly even at the same time. For this reason, it's smart to take your time before accepting an offer. Usually, you'll have 24 to 48 hours before you have to reply. Jumping the gun too soon could result in you leaving a nice chunk of change on the table. 
  1. Plan on a Remote Closing
    It's in your best interest to keep everything as remote as possible, including the closing. Not only does a remote closing help you reduce contact, but it's also far faster and more convenient. Remote closings and the use of electronic signatures have become an accepted practice in almost every state now, so plan on taking advantage of this if you can. 

If you've been thinking about listing your home, now is the perfect time to do it. Follow these tips, and there's a good chance you'll have your home sold for a price you love before the spring flowers start to bloom


7 Tips for Attracting Millennial Buyers

Millennials — usually defined as being in their early 20s and approaching 40 — now represent more than a quarter of the U.S. population, and many of them are buying homes. In fact, they make up the largest share of home buyers at 38%.

If you're selling your home, you'll want to appeal to this large segment of home buyers. And it pays to keep in mind they can have different priorities compared to other homebuyer age groups.

Follow these 7 tips to help attract millennial homebuyers:

  1. Create a dedicated home office space.
    Since the pandemic began, working at home has dramatically increased, particularly for millennials. In fact, nearly half of this age group works from home. If you have a bonus room, appeal to millennials by staging a home office. Add some shelving, a desk, and ample lighting, and you'll have a workspace that will attract buyers in this demographic.
  2. Upgrade your yard and deck.
    Millennials want to personalize their homes with items like fire pits and decks that extend their living space. Spruce up your yard and build or expand a deck if needed, adding planters, seating, and other appealing amenities. Just make sure everything is low maintenance since millennial buyers don't want to spend a lot of time and effort where they could be spending that time enjoying the space instead.
  3. Appeal to their tech-heavy lifestyles.
    Technically is a major part of all our lives, and millennials especially want their home to reflect and enable that. Start by integrating practical technology like a smart doorbell and a programmable thermostat that can be linked to a smartphone. You'll also want to swap out some standard outlets in bedrooms, living rooms, and the kitchen with USBs for charging.
  4. Have your home in excellent condition.
    By the time they start looking for a home to buy, millennials have seen years of picture-perfect homes online and on TV. Although some buyers are willing to accept a less-than-shipshape home in exchange for a reduction in price, this is less true of millennials than it is of older buyers. It's unlikely that many millennials have the time to take on a fixer-upper, so the more move-in ready your home is, the better.
  5. Use neutral colors.
    Millennials tend to favor soft, light, neutral colors, so if you're painting your home, resist the temptation to go bold and choose these shades instead. Grays in particular have become popular, in addition to whitewashed variations of gray and creams.
  6. Aim for an open floor concept.
    Today's buyers are usually looking for an open floor plan in which the kitchen, dining, and living areas all flow together. If you're planning to renovate your home, consider hiring a contractor to break down walls and make other changes to make this happen. If this is beyond the scope of your time and budget, use the same type and color of flooring throughout these areas to create a cohesive look and make one room look as though it flows into the next.
  7. Use minimalist furnishings and decor.
    A highly personalized home stuffed with furniture and other belongings won't wow millennials. Instead, declutter and depersonalize your space and use minimalist furnishings. If you make any decor updates, look for clean lines and simple geometric designs for a modern look.

Millennials make up a large percentage of home buyers, so attracting them can help your home sell more quickly and for the best possible price. The key is knowing what they're looking for and making sure your home meets their needs and preferences.


Why Buying a House During the Holidays is A Great Idea

Buying a house? Worried about the real estate market slowing down during the holiday season?

Getting a transaction done in December can be challenging … for the sellers, that is. They need to work extra hard to advertise a home and make sure it's in great condition for showing. Sometimes that means adjusting their holiday plans or scaling back their usual decorations so the home's great features will shine through.

But buying a house is very different, and the holidays are no reason to put off your plans.

In fact, staying in the market throughout winter can actually make buying a house easier.

Let's look at some of the biggest reasons why:

  1. Sales Prices Are Lower
    Just because the seasons change, it doesn't mean sellers are less motivated. In fact, research by ATTOM Data Solutions shows that December 26 is the best day of the year to buy a home at a deep discount compared to similar homes that sold at other times of the year. The data indicates all the top six days best days to buy were in December. The price difference is more noticeable in colder climates where snow can slow market activity.
  2. Fewer Sellers, Less Time
    Many sellers do step out of the market in the last quarter, concerned that hanging in there could leave them waiting 90 days or more for the right buyer. Sellers who remain tend to be those who have pressing personal reasons to get the transaction finished. 
  3. A Final Tax Boost for the Year
    A huge number of tax benefits can potentially accrue after buying a house. Buyers may enjoy incentives on expenses like property taxes, mortgage interest, and points paid when closing the property. Buying as an investment vehicle can unlock even more tax savings when an appropriate business entity is set up in advance. No matter what approach you take, you could find yourself with a substantial tax refund in the new year.
  4. The Potential for Lower Interest Rates
    Interest rates can fluctuate at any time of year, and the historic lows reached multiple times over the course of 2020 might reverberate through the market for years to come. As a general rule, though, interest rates are low in the winter and get higher and more volatile during the busy seasons of spring and summer. Still, you should work with your real estate agent to make your move at the right time and lock in the best rates you can get.
  5. A Faster Closing Process
    Closing day is the ultimate goal when buying a house, but it can also be very complicated. The traditional closing means meeting up for several hours to sign off on reams of paperwork. It ends with ownership (and the keys!) given over fully to the successful buyer. Many people are involved in this process, and lenders, brokers, inspectors, and even real estate lawyers are usually motivated to get deals done before the end of the year.

Buying a house can be a great adventure and an important life milestone. If you end up exploring the real estate market near the holidays, don't fret. Connect with a trusted local real estate agent who can help you navigate the twists and turns. As a buyer, you have nothing to lose by seeing what's out there. And before you know it, you might just discover that buying at this time of year was one of your best decisions.


(December 15, 2022) Amy Chapman has joined Coldwell Banker Gosslee, the #1 Real Estate Firm in NW Louisiana. 

After a very successful, 17-year career in medical sales and many awards for her outstanding work, Amy is ready to help local families find HOME.

"I just want to help people. Always." - Amy

With her love of helping others, combined with her geniune, fun-loving personality - we know that Amy has found her calling! She is so caring and is ready to not only help her clients with all of their real estate needs, but she is looking forward to building relationships with them that last a lifetime. 

When Amy isn't helping others achieve their real estate goals, she enjoys volunteering her time at church and with animals.

Amy was born in Texas, graduated from Stephen F. Austin and made Shreveport home 20 years ago. She has two children - Jackson, 22, and Adelyn, 20 - that both attend LA Tech. In her spare time you can find her doing any outdoor activities, playing with animals, and helping anyone that is in need of help. 

You can contact Amy at 318.553.7998 or you can email her at amchap11@gmail.com

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


Prep Your Home For Guests With These Tips

The holidays are a special time of year when joy and laughter fill the air. We decorate the house with festive ornaments, string lights along the rooftop, shop for holiday gifts, and celebrate the season with family and friends who come to visit.

Whether your holiday guests are visiting overnight or staying for a few days, they need a cozy place to relax and sleep. Hosting guests requires some preparation, but you don't need to stress. With a little effort, you can make your guests feel comfortable and welcome for the holidays.

Create a Warm Welcome

Welcome your guests to your home with a festive entry that showcases the holiday season. Starting outdoors, adorn the trees and shrubs with holiday twinkle lights, line the front walkway with poinsettias, hang a seasonal wreath on the front door, and greet your guests with a cup of hot chocolate. As guests step into your home, welcome them with scented holiday candles, a roaring fire in the fireplace, freshly-baked muffins, and a beautiful holiday tree filled with ornaments, tinsel, and wrapped gifts.

Stock the Kitchen

When you're hosting overnight guests, make sure you stock the kitchen with extra food and beverages. A self-service style layout will keep you from playing short-order cook, especially when guests are staying for several days. Set up an area in the kitchen for a coffee bar with mugs, spoons, and sweeteners. Provide a convenient countertop area for making toast, sandwiches, salads, and plate lunches. For late-night snacks, fill a big basket with fresh fruits, snacks, and sweets so guests can munch at their leisure.

Prepare the Guest Bedroom

A beautiful, inviting guest room is a sure way to make your holiday guests feel welcome. First, create a comfortable, cozy bed with fresh linens, puffy pillows, and warm blankets or quilts. As a welcoming gesture, leave some mints or chocolates on the pillows and a good book on the nightstand. Next, make room for your guests' personal belongings:

  • Find space for suitcases
  • Clear a shelf or drawer
  • Clear out space in the closet
  • Make room for a laptop
  • Buy an extra shoe rack

If your guests are staying for a while, make sure they have easy access to wall plugs and consider sharing your wi-fi password. To create more restful sleep, put a sound machine, a small fan, or a humidifier in the room. If there's no TV in the guest room, leave some magazines, a pack of playing cards, or a puzzle on the dresser. In case of an emergency, make sure there's a flashlight near the bed.

Prepare the Guest Bathroom

Whether your guest bathroom is directly off the bedroom or down the hall, make sure your guests have everything they need. Before you start gathering essentials, clean the bathroom spic and span, clear out non-essentials, fill the room with fresh scents, and put down non-slip rugs. Once the bathroom is sparkling, you can put out guest essentials:

  • Fresh towels and washcloths
  • Rolls of extra toilet paper
  • Toiletries (toothbrushes and toothpaste)
  • Liquid or bar soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Air freshener
  • A first-aid kit

Some people travel with their own beauty essentials, so put a decorative basket on the sink or vanity where they can conveniently store them during their visit. For fresh scents and a relaxing atmosphere, place a few holiday candles on the tub or the vanity.

Above all, remember it's the personal attention you show to your guests that really matters, so welcome them to a comfortable holiday home filled with warmth, laughter, and lasting memories.


Fireplace Safety and Efficiency Tips

Whether it's for the cozy ambiance fireplaces create or simply for the practical use of reducing heating costs, many buyers have a fireplace on their list of wants when buying a home.

Here are three "hot" tips for keeping your home fireplace burning safely and efficiently.

1. Fireplace Preventive Maintenance

Excessive heat and chimney fires are produced by the buildup of creosote—a highly-combustible byproduct (mostly tar) of burning wood. Whether using your fireplace year-round, seasonally or just when the mood strikes you, chimney preventive maintenance is an essential home improvement project for keeping your home safe.

  • Chimney inspection: Hire a chimney service technician to inspect your chimney at least once a year. Loose bricks, cracks, missing mortar and damaged dampers and lining may need to make your home improvement list.
  • Chimney cap: Chimney caps with spark arrestors (metal screens) prevent snow, rain, animals, and debris from entering the chimney. Moreover, spark arrestors prevent floating embers from escaping the chimney and possibly setting your roof ablaze. Your technician ensures the chimney cap and spark arrestor are functioning properly.
  • Chimney sweep: A 2016 report by the National Fire Protection Association states that the leading factor for home heating fires was a failure to clean the chimney.

2. Building a Fire

Learning how to build a home fireplace fire safely and efficiently are excellent skills to master. There's more to it than tossing some wood in the firebox, dousing it with lighter fluid and—uh-oh—don't do that! Be patient, and take fire building seriously.

  • Choosing wood: Only burn dry, cured wood. High moisture levels in wood create more smoke, doesn't burn as efficiently and tends to produce more creosote. Cover your woodpile, but leave the sides exposed to airflow. Hickory, white oak, beech, and other hardwoods burn longer than spruce and white pine. However, sufficiently dry firewood is more important than the species and density.
  • Building a fire: Open the damper first. Next, place larger logs in the back of the firebox. Put smaller logs on top of the larger ones. On top, place your wood kindling and tinder, such as bunched-up newspaper balls. This "upside down" fire will burn cleaner and hotter than placing kindling and tinder on the bottom. Remember, start slowly, be patient and build up.
  • Only burn firewood: Your fireplace isn't an incinerator. Disposing of crates, construction scraps and painted or stained wood, for example, may seem harmless enough, but treated woods release harmful chemicals into your home.

3. Fireplace Safety and Efficiency

Be mindful of the fireplace surroundings and the fire. Keep tinder, such as newspaper and other combustibles, at a safe distance. Use these tips to keep the warm glow inside the firebox.

  • Spark guard: When you cozy up with your significant other in front of your fireplace, sure, you want sparks to fly—but not sparks from the fireplace fire! Close the mesh spark guard when the glass doors are open.
  • Dampers: You don't want your energy dollars going up the chimney. Close the damper and glass doors when you are not using the fireplace.
  • Alarms: Test your smoke alarms and CO detectors at least twice a year. Alarms/detectors should be installed outside each sleeping area, on each level of your home and about 8 to 10 feet from your fireplace and any doors to attached garages.

5 Budget Kitchen Updates To Help You Sell Your Home

When it comes to selling your home for the best possible price, how you present the space matters.

To make the best impression you can on potential buyers, you may need to invest a little time and cash into updating a few key areas with big selling power, such as your kitchen.

To help you do this effectively without eating into your profit margins, we're serving up a platter of budget-friendly kitchen updates – helping you to maximize your kitchen's aesthetic appeal without having to spend a small fortune.

Banish unwanted clutter

The first step on your budget kitchen update journey is to banish any unwanted clutter from countertops and open shelving.

In order to boost your kitchen's appeal among potential buyers, you'll want it to have that clean, blank canvas look so prospective buyers can easily visualise themselves using the space.

This means tidying away any items that don't need to be on show. We're talking bulky appliances, overflowing utensil pots, groceries, glassware and more. You don't have to throw them out, but rather simply put them away in a cupboard so they're out of sight when viewings and open houses are taking place.

Install new splashbacks

Splashbacks are an integral feature of modern kitchen design, protecting kitchen walls from everyday spills and splashes while also delivering a stylish design feature.

For homeowners on a tight budget, installing a new splashback could be a quick, affordable way to give this culinary space a fresh, modern update – assuming the rest of the kitchen is in good condition, that is.

From a material point of view, you have plenty of options – patterned tiles, plain tiles, tempered glass, stainless steel and more. Just make sure you choose a finish that complements your existing scheme and has mass appeal.

Update the cabinets

brand-new kitchen can set you back at least $8,000 – making this an unrealistic option for many sellers, as there's no guarantee you'll get a worthwhile return on your investment. So, what are your other options?

Well, one handy trick is to update your kitchen cabinets with a stylish vinyl film wrap cover. Made from robust, durable vinyl, it's a quick, non-disruptive and cost-effective way to give your kitchen a complete reskin in a choice of various finishes and designs.

From solid colors to wood-effect and marble options, whichever design you choose, the end result will be a chic, contemporary kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a full-scale kitchen refit.

Apply a fresh coat of paint

Repainting your kitchen may feel like a hassle at the time, but it's important never to underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint.

Not only will paint cover up those dirty prints and marks, but it can also brighten up a room – making a space instantly feel fresher and more inviting.

To maximize the power of paint in your kitchen, we'd suggest opting for a pale, neutral shade such as white, cream or pale beige. These shades have an evergreen, universal appeal – plus, they can be paired with a huge choice of other complementary accent colors to bring some welcome character to the space.

If you can't resist a little color in your cooking space, or you want to add a little personality with a colored feature wall, try to stick to a tone that works with the rest of your decor and doesn't overwhelm the space.

Replace kitchen hardware and accessories

When it comes to kitchen updates, they don't always need to take the form of large-scale refurbishments. Sometimes, the smaller details can be equally as impactful.

This is definitely the case when it comes to your kitchen hardware and accessories. Making a few low-cost yet considered replacements and upgrades can go a long way towards giving your kitchen a high-end, contemporary feel.

Start with your cabinetry and replace old door handles with new designs – this can even extend to other fixtures like light fittings and faucets if you have the budget.

For accessories, swap out mismatched old food containers, utensils and dish cloths with new alternatives that don't cost the earth. For a chic, cohesive look buyers will love, we'd suggest picking an accent color and design theme – making sure all of your accessories are coordinated, of course.

Getting your home sale-ready does require some effort on your part, but it doesn't have to mean spending a huge amount of money or time.

With these simple, pocket-friendly kitchen updates, you can spruce up the heart of your home at minimal cost and create an attractive kitchen space that buyers won't be able to resist.



5 Things to Do Before Your First Showing

You work hard to get potential buyers into your home. Whether you've scheduled a last-minute viewing or a daylong open house, your home should be ready when they arrive.

Every room should be neat, clean, aired out, comfortable, and bright. Your entire home should be a silent invitation to buy. It's important to hide the stuff that sends a different message.

  • Your Identity
    When a potential buyer looks at your home, they want to consider what it would be like if they lived there. Your presence during a viewing would make it difficult, which is why you're not invited. Things in your home that present the same dilemma should be hidden.

    - Family photos may tell potential buyers, "this is their"
    - Cultural or ethnic mementos can send a divisive message.
    - Guns and political mementos are controversial and may inspire anger.
    - An odd smell can be the only thing a potential buyer remembers about your home.

  • Pets and Pet Evidence
    Potential home buyers see dogs and cats as smelly little creatures that leave behind a permanent odor. You're not likely to get rid of your beloved pet just to sell your home. However, you should eliminate tell-tale pet evidence before each showing.

    - Make pet odor and hair removal an ongoing project.
    - Take litter boxes, animal habitats, and food and water dishes with you.
    - Get a pet carrier for quick getaways.
    - Light a mildly scented candle to cover left-behind odors.

  • Clutter
    Your clutter might be irreplaceable knick-knacks, beautiful collectibles, or a must-have shoe collection. Still, these things make your home look less roomy, less neat, and less desirable than its decluttered version.

    - Clear your stuff from every surface unless it serves a specific purpose.
    - Clean out and organize your closets.
    - Remove belongings stored under a bed. It gives the impression of too little storage space.
    - Clear kitchen counters except for high-end appliances.
    - Remove throw rugs. They're clutter-ish and also a trip and fall hazard.
    - Store removed items away from your residence.

  • Valuables
    You have no idea who is in your home during an open house. It's impossible for your real estate agent to watch everyone every moment, so it's best to be cautious. Take your jewelry and other valuables with you, or consider storing them in a safe deposit box.

  • Toys
    Toys are often hard to manage because they're everywhere, and children aren't big fans of decluttering. If you're tidying up your home to put it on the market, now is a good time to establish a donate-toys-to-charity habit with your kids.

    Your children's generosity will make it easier to keep your rooms neat during the marketing process.

Keep these tips in mind when prepping for your first showing, and you're sure to attract the attention of promising buyers.


5 Holiday Decorating Tips for Small Spaces

Are you in the process of getting your decorations up and realizing you're running out of room? Maybe you are starting to outgrow your current home? Today, we are sharing 5 decorating tips for small spaces.

Keep It Simple

A Christmas tree is a must but opt for something smaller that won't take up a ton of space. When it comes to your Christmas decor theme, use lots of neutrals. Winter White looks so pretty againt a tree and won't overwhelm small spaces. 

Create Ambiance

Candles are your best friend when it comes to making smaller spaces festive and cozy. You might not have tons of extra space for strands of garlands and lights without feeling overwhelming, but candles can be added to decorative trays, countertops and your mantle, if you have one. 

Chunky Linens

Swap out linens and blankers with cozy, chunky textures. Think chuny knut blankets, sheepskin rugs and comfy pillows. If you don't want to totally replace what you have then bring on the layers! Festive flannel sheets are a fun way to add decor to your bedroom without taking up any additional space.

Festive Framed Artwork

One of the easiest ways to add holiday cheer to your home is to swap out current framed photos or art with fun Christmas prints. You can even print your own Christmas quotes in pretty font and frame them for the season.

Bring The Outdoors In

Evergreen clippings, berries and birch logs for the win! You can add berries to a pretty vase, and use evergreen clippings to accent the fireplace, kitchen table, a mirror - really anywhere! Lean birch logs against a corner wall or throw into a woven basket for some easy decor.

What do you think of these simple holiday decor ideas? What is your favorite way to make your home festive for the holidays?


Buying a House for a Blended Family

When the step-siblings of The Brady Bunch made their TV debut in 1969, the concept of a blended family was something of a novelty. Today, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 75 percent of divorced people remarry and 65 percent of those remarriages include children. In addition, a study by Pew Research Center indicates that 16 percent of kids under the age of 18 are living in blended families.

By definition, a blended family increases the number of household members, making it unlikely that either of the current homes is suitable options. If you're buying a house for a blended family, start off on the right note with these helpful tips.

  • Get Professional Financial Advice
    In first marriages, couples are generally building a financial profile together. Couples who come together later in life have already established careers, credit histories, and tolerance for risk. Consult a financial advisor who can help create mutually compatible goals and budgets.
  • Be Realistic about Space Considerations
    What seems doable in theory often turns out to be impractical in reality. How many kids can reasonably share a bedroom? Will everyone have to stand in line to shower in a single bathroom? Give your blended family room to breathe as they become accustomed to their new living situation.
  • Choose Location Strategically
    If real estate is all about "location, location, location," that applies double to buying a house for a blended family. Instead of having only one side relocate, you may decide on a "neutral" neighborhood to put everyone on equal footing. Proximity to kids' other parents is also a vital factor in shared custody arrangements.
  • Involve the Kids
    When partners in a new relationship have children, kids may often feel they are along for the ride. They may find themselves in the middle of changes completely out of their control. Bring kids along as you view houses and solicit their input to emphasize that it's their home also. Once you've made the move, assign each child a designing "project" to put their own stamp on the new home.
  • Plan Timing Carefully
    Coordinating the process of buying a house with the sale of your existing home can be tricky enough. When you add in the sale of a second home, it becomes a real juggling act. Prepare a backup plan, such as renting out one of the homes or moving into a short-term rental, in case the timing hits a snag.

The definition of family continues expanding to include previously non-traditional forms, but the idea of home as the center of family life remains constant. Buying a house that accommodates the needs of a blended family is the first step toward creating happy memories together.


The Ultimate To-Do List For Home Sellers

Selling your home involves a lot of details — some you probably haven't even thought about. There are a few main areas most of these fall under, and having a list can help you plan and prepare effectively.

The Planning Stages

You've made the decision to sell your home, and now it's time to work out all the details.

  • Determine your timeline. How fast do you need to sell? Do you need to find another home first? How much time will you need to prepare your home?
  • Make a list of all repair or upgrade projects. Big and small inside and outside. Estimate completion time and cost.
  • Have an idea about pricing. You probably don't want to decide on the final figure without talking to your agent first, but do some research and think about a range that takes into account any major repairs or upgrades.

Work on Curb Appeal

The first thing buyers notice about your house is the outside, so start here. Walk toward the street and look at your house to see what kind of first impression buyers are getting. What can be improved? 

  • Remove clutter. Branches and debris, trash cans, bikes, tools, and toys should all be removed or put away.
  • Mow and edge the lawn.
  • Trim trees and shrubs. Make sure they aren't blocking windows or the view of the house.
  • Add flowers or plants and mulch.
  • Repair or add a walkway.
  • Paint. You may not need to paint the entire house. A fresh coat or color change on the trim, shutters, front door or garage door may be enough.
  • Update a curbside mailbox.
  • Replace, relocate or repaint house numbers.
  • Repair, replace or add exterior lighting.
  • Add or refresh porch furniture.

Getting the Inside Ready

You'll want the inside of your home to look just as amazing as the outside. Consider hiring a professional home stager. Having someone who doesn't have an emotional attachment to anything in the home can be helpful.

Here are some other things you can do.

  • Declutter. Dispose of, donate or store unnecessary items. Remember, buyers will look everywhere. The less you have to hide or reorganize, the better. 
  • Remove your personal touches. Flashy décor and artwork, family photos, and collections should be removed. It's hard for buyers to envision themselves in the home when your belongings are visible.
  • Detail clean. Wash walls and baseboards and molding to remove scuff marks and fingerprints. Clean inside cabinets, corners, and window tracks. Every house has those areas that get passed over. Now is the time to make sure they're clean.
  • Paint. Freshening up the color or repainting in a neutral color can give your home wider appeal.
  • Make small repairs. Potential buyers see burned-out light bulbs, loose handles and doorknobs, and dripping faucets and wonder what else may have been neglected.
  • Take a sniff. Weird smells are a major turn-off. Clean, sanitize, or get rid of the source.
  • Lock up or relocate valuables.
  • Wash windows.
  • Redo caulking in the bathroom and clean the grout. 

Meet with Your Real Estate Agent

It's a good idea to use a real estate agent when selling your home. An agent will list your home, publicize it, and schedule tours. They can also advise you on pricing. 

There are a lot of details involved in selling your home. Being well organized and planning ahead can save time and help you get the price you're looking for.


You Just Might Have Seller's Remorse

No matter how much you're looking forward to turning over your house keys to a new owner, selling your home can lead to deep soul-searching.

Did I get a good price? Will the new owners love my home the way I do? Did I really want to sell in the first place? If you're asking yourself these questions, you just might have a case of seller's remorse.

When you walk away from a place you love, it can feel like abandoning an old friend. Fortunately, the emotional attachments will likely fade with time. The financial regrets that settle in after closing can be even more difficult, but you'll have to let them go as well. Those wordy closing documents you signed are contracts. They're difficult to break, no matter how much remorse you feel.

The best time to manage seller's remorse is before you put your home on the market. Begin the process by asking yourself these questions:

Am I listing for the right reason?

Empty nest? Divorce? Financial gain? Impulse? Exactly why are you selling your home? If you received a big job offer with a deadline to relocate to a new city, selling your home can feel like lifting a weight off your shoulders. If you list your home because Uncle Bob said you could make a ton of money, you might not realize it's a bad idea until the deal is done. 

Only you can decide if selling your home is the right decision for you. 

Am I listing for the right price?

Pricing your home can be tricky. It's not an exact science, but your real estate agent can help. Review recent home sales and research comparables — homes similar to yours in similar neighborhoods. Also, when calculating the potential net return on your sale, don't ignore these and other before-sale and after-sale costs.

  • Home repairs and upgrades
  • Cleaning and landscaping
  • Staging and photography
  • Commissions
  • Relocation costs

Your price should include enough wiggle room to negotiate with a serious buyer. If your price is too high, you'll attract few potential buyers. If you price your home too low, you may lose money on the deal. That's a sure trigger for seller's remorse.

Have I found my next home?

Whatever the cause of your seller's remorse, it will likely fade with time. The healing process may take longer to begin if you sign the closing documents on your old home but don't have a new home to go to.

Sellers do that sometimes when a buyer's purchase is contingent on a quick closing. You can do it too. But if you don't have a backup plan, the sensation of temporary "homelessness" can leave you with an acute case of remorse. It's important to think before you list:

  • Find a home before you put your home on the market.
  • Consider what you'll do if your home sells quickly.
  • Locate movers and storage facilities that require little notice.
  • Research temporary housing options.
  • Offer the buyer incentives in exchange for a delayed closing.

Seller's remorse happens

The sense of having made the wrong choice can happen any time you make a decision with long-range consequences. That's why it's important to work with a real estate professional when you decide to sell your home. Your real estate agent can work with you from pre-listing through closing. You'll gain confidence in the home-selling process, and that will minimize your chances of succumbing to seller's remorse.


Make Your Home Smarter Without Spending A Fortune

Everything from security cameras and thermostats to light bulbs and locks is now available with wireless connectivity, and when multiple devices communicate, they join an "Internet of things" that instantly makes life more convenient and customizable. Some even learn your preferences and household habits, then adjust themselves accordingly. However, some homeowners still assume that "smart home" technology is still out of their price range.

If you want to smarten up your home and take advantage of the latest gadgets, you don't actually have to invest in a six-figure rewiring job. Instead, just take some of the following steps to keep your home compatible with the 21st century.

  • Swap Out Your Light Bulbs for Smart LED Bulbs
    Traditional light bulbs generate heat, use electricity, emit one color, need to be replaced every so often, and only respond to physical switches. Smart LED bulbs, on the other hand, generate no heat, use far less electricity, may change colors, last much longer, and can be controlled wirelessly. Whether you care about the planet or you need more lighting options, WiFi LED bulbs like the Philips Hue system or single LIFX bulbs are the way to go. If you want to spend less than $20 per bulb, opt for Bluetooth-enabled bulbs like the GE C-Life instead.

  • Plug Your Appliances into Smart Plugs
    Do you want to control your oven, computer, TV, or any other appliance remotely? You don't have to wait until a "smart fridge" is in the budget. Now, it's possible to connect your mobile devices to anything that plugs into your wall, thanks to pass-through plugs like the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch or the mydlink Home Smart Plug. Download an app to turn appliances on and off, monitor usage patterns, and more.

  • Invest in a Nest
    It's hard to overstate the value of a programmable thermostat, especially when it's as striking as the popular Nest. This wireless-enabled thermostat is easy to plug into your existing HVAC wires, and once it's installed, you can use your phone to adjust the minimum and maximum temperatures, set specific temperatures, program fluctuations, and more. Best of all, the Nest knows where you are and adjusts your temperature accordingly. You can even set it to conserve extra energy by turning off its screen until you walk up to it.

  • Greet Visitors with the Ring Video Doorbell
    Who's at the door? If you had a Ring doorbell, you would never have to ask that question again. Ring integrates two-way audio for speaking back and forth through the door, a camera that allows you to see your visitors in HD from anywhere in the house (or the world) in any lighting, and motion sensors that make it easy to start recording when someone arrives. With Ring, you can even set up mobile alerts when someone rings the bell or comes near your door. Ring's doorbells range from $150 per doorbell to more than $600 for whole camera systems, but peace of mind is priceless.

How will you turn your house into a smart home? Investing in a few wireless gadgets now may save time, money, and energy for years to come, but let's be honest: it makes your house look a whole lot cooler, too. Whether you hope to attract buyers soon or you want to make life in your new home more convenient and futuristic, these smart products are a great place to start.