Bridget Benton

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Home Buyer Tips | 52 Posts
Home Seller Tips | 55 Posts
Homeowner Tips | 38 Posts
Moving Tips | 3 Posts
Shreveport, LA | 4 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts
October
4

8 Reasons Why Real Estate is the Best Investment

Real estate has long been considered a solid investment for many reasons. It is a relatively safe and easy way for people to build wealth beginning with a small amount of money. If you are interested in investing in real estate, I'd be happy to help you find the right properties.

Here are some of the ways investing in property can help you build an investment portfolio.

1. Real estate investments can provide you with a reliable and steady cash flow. Investing in rental properties is relatively easy as expenses are predictable and if your properties remain occupied you know what to expect in terms of profit margin.

2. Real estate appreciates in value. Real estate consistently appreciates, even during economic downturns, making it one of the more reliable investments. On average, real estate in the US appreciates between 3-5% annually.

3. Real estate investments help you retire. If you have been paying on your mortgage throughout your working years, you will experience greater cash flow as you near the end of your mortgage term and the principal is paid off.

4. Real estate sales are taxed at a lower rate than other income. When you sell your property, you are taxed short- or long-term capital gains which are usually lower than income tax brackets.

5. Real estate equity can be leveraged. One of the most attractive reasons for investing in real estate is the ability to leverage your money. When you take out a mortgage to purchase property you reduce the amount of capital required. As you build up equity in the property, you borrow against the equity or refinance the original loan, freeing up cash to buy another property.

6. You have control to improve upon your asset. Unlike an investment in stock, where you have no control over how it performs, you can improve upon your real estate investment. Updating or upgrading systems, finishes, appliances, and landscaping helps build value in your investment.

7. Real estate gains taxes can be deferred. Under the 1031 exchange tax code, you can invest the gains from the sale in one property to the purchase of another property without paying taxes on the gains.

8. Real estate investments are depreciable. This is confusing, but you can legally claim a depreciation expense on an investment property even though the value of your investment property is actually appreciating. The depreciation deduction allows investors to generate a higher cash flow while reporting a lower income for tax purposes.

Ready to start building your real estate portfolio? Call us today!

Bossier City Office 318-747-5411

Shreveport Office 318-861-2461

October
3

Pros and Cons of Selling During the Holidays

If you are thinking about listing your home this fall, you might be concerned about showing it, and possibly having to move, over the holiday season. The holidays are already a busy time of year for most families, so you would be right to wonder if you are making a good decision by marketing your home between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Some sellers even take their homes off the market temporarily during the holiday season, but, before you make that choice, consider all the pros and cons to selling during this festive time of year.

Pros:

1. Buyers are serious. Buyers looking for a home during the holiday season are usually serious about getting under contract, or else they'd put it off. Often, they are starting a new job at the beginning of the year, or they want to get their children registered in school by the end of the holiday break, or maybe they want the tax break in the current year. Regardless of their reasons, if they are out looking in November or December, they are serious buyers.

2. There are not as many homes on the market. As a seller, you benefit from having fewer homes on the market to compete with. Less inventory combined with serious buyers means sellers get higher offers.

3. You can take advantage of holiday season curb appeal. While it's recommended that you not over-decorate while showing your home, you can take advantage of the warm and festive vibes that holiday decorations add. Some white twinkle lights, a wreath on the door, and poinsettias lining your porch can add just the right cozy and inviting feel to win over buyers.

4. Cooler weather may invigorate buyers. The only thing worse than house hunting in the dead of summer is moving and unpacking in the dead of summer. On the other hand, the cooler temperatures of the holiday season may fuel buyers' desire to get out on the hunt.

5. You can use a holiday theme to ramp up an open house. Instead of offering the same old plate of cookies and bottled water, let your prospective buyers feel the warmth of your home with a cup of hot chocolate and warm gingerbread in front of the fireplace, or let them wander through your rooms listening to holiday music and enjoying the scent of pine or cinnamon candles.

Cons:

1. You won't have as many lookers. We noted that buyers shopping during the holidays are serious ones, but there will definitely be fewer buyers looking than later in the New Year.

2. Showing your home may be more inconvenient. Again, it's a busy time of year for most families, so do consider the inconvenience of having showings while you are preparing for the holidays or enjoying time off from school or work.

3. Business closings may slow down transactions. Many businesses have shortened hours or holiday closings, which means you or your buyers might have delays with such things as scheduling inspections and appraisals, clearing title or escrow payments, or getting repairs completed.

Ready to sell your home today? Our experiences agents can guide you through the holiday hustle and bustle. Just give us a call!

Bossier City Office 318-747-5411

Shreveport Office 318-861-2461

September
30

Enjoy Nature with a Hike Around the SBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September
28

Ring in the New Year in a New Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September
27

How To Sell Your Home Despite Those Problem Neighbors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September
26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Price Range

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

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

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

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

Total

3,652 (-11%)

1,500 (-8%)

2,026 (-14%)

126 (-2%)

$100,000 & less

504 (-16%)

    121 (-8%)

365 (-19%)

18 (-14%)

$100,000-$200,000

1,496 (-23%)

358 (-25%)

754 (-23%)

34 (-26%)

$200,000-$300,000

1,194 (-6%)

551 (-7%)

539 (-6%)

    27 (+4%)

$300,000-$400,000

468 (+4%)

292 (+5%)

169 (0%)

24 (+20%)

$400,000-$500,000

219 (+7%)

118 (+13%)

88 (-2%)

13 (+18%)

$500,000-
$600,000

88 (+35%)

    35 (+21%)

45 (+29%)

8 (+700%)

$600,000+

93 (+26%)

25 (+32%)

66 (+27%)

2 (100%)

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

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

Price Range

August 2022 Sales

August 2018 Sales

Total

417

447

$100,000 & less

40

91

$100,000-$200,000

123

147

$200,000-$300,000

123

117

$300,000-$400,000

67

41

$400,000-$500,000

31

16

$500,000+

24

6

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

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

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

Price Range

August 2022 Available Homes/Month Supply

August 2018 Available Homes/Month Supply

Total

1,023/2.1

2,247/5.8

$100,000 & less

211/3.3

466/4.9

$100,000-$200,000

259/1.7

726/4.5

$200,000-$300,000

232/1.6

503/5.5

$300,000-$400,000

125/2.1

266/8.9

$400,000-$500,000

71/2.7

122/12.4

$500,000+

126/5.8

166/24.6

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

 

U.S.

(change over August '21)

Northwest LA

(change over August '21)

Median Price

$389,500/+7.7%

$235,000/+16%

Number of Sales

4.80 million/-19.9%
(annualized)

417/-23%

Inventory

1.28 million/unchanged

1,032/+8%

Month Supply

3.2/2.6

2.2/1.9

Median Days on Market

16/17

12/8

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

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

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

Date

Good Time to Buy

Good Time to Sell

August

22%

59%

July

17%

67%

June

20%

68%

May

17%

76%

April

19%

72%

March

24%

74%

February

29%

72%

January

25%

69%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September
23

5 Simple Ideas for Fall Home Makeovers

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

Add Seasonal Wreaths

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

Update Pillows

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

Swap Out Rugs

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

Add Flowers

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

Cozy Up Outdoors

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

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

September
20

What You Can Learn From Price Per Square Foot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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