Staging Your Home For The Holidays, (When Your Home Is For Sale)

When you are selling your home the last thing your thinking about is staging your home for the holidays. If you have found yourself in the position that you are selling your home during Christmas these staging tips for the holidays will help keep your home inviting and warm without screaming CHRISTMAS! I know some realtors will tell you not to decorate at all but I say if you do tasteful Christmas decorating using these 5 tips for the holiday decorating you should be okay with future buyers.

If you’d like some more tips on buying your next home check out my buying a home playlist here.

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Kristina Smallhorn
PO BOX 1271
Prairieville LA 70769
Kristina Smallhorn, Your Real Estate Whisperer,
eXp Realty LLC,2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401, Baton Rouge LA 70817
225-246-1812,Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana, License #0912122918

For Sale By Owner Fails

I know there are many factors that go through a sellers mind when they chose to sell their home “for sale by owner” or FSBO like some people call it but the statics don’t lie, according to the National Association of Realtors, less than 10% of FSBO’s actually sell. So why are there so many For Sale By Owner Fails?  In this video/blog, I will cover the reasons why this happens and some tips to try to help those that elect to sell for sale by owner.

?Preparing The Home Correct To Sell It.

I know most sellers feel like they have seen enough on HGTV that they can stage a home without a stager, and sell a home without a realtor. I mean, they make it look so easy on tv, why can’t they do it themselves?

But the problem is that most people when selling For Sale By Owner list their home before its ready to list. I have had clients take up to a month to get everything in order before I would send out the professional photographer to take photographs.

There are some simple generic tips that should be followed by all FSBOs. I have made a useful playlist of videos to help also , Some of the most important pre-listing tasks that FSBOs should do before listing their home for sale include: 


?Paint rooms.

??‍?Professionally clean carpets and/or floors.

??‍♂️Complete any neglected repairs.

?Replace outdated light fixtures.

?Add Flowers and de-weed to make the home have curb appeal.

? Pricing and Zillow’s Zestimates

Many For sale by owner sellers do not understand the value of their home. They will rely on sites like Zillow with Zillow’s “Zestimates” to evaluate their home. The “Zestimates” have been known to either price the home too high which prices the home out of the market. Other “Zestimate’s” may price it too low, making some buyers curious to what could be wrong with the home when it’s priced so low. Most buyers won’t take the chance that the home is a good deal they’ll just move onto another property.

☎️ Listing FSBO on Zillow with Only Real Estate Agents Call.

Once a seller lists there home on websites like Zillow, and Trulia, they are inundated with calls from real estate agents working there call sheets but get little traction with actual buyers. The way these sites are actually set up they makes it difficult for the home sellers contact information. To be found by the average buyer searching, they tuck it lower down the page just past where all the real estate agent have paid for placement, even making the color of font and size smaller. Of course, real estate agents trying to work to get the listing they know exactly where to find these numbers, and that’s why the for sale by owner seller gets bombarded by those calls.

Not only does the phone ring from realtors, you get people calling at all hours asking questions about the home, its exciting at first but frustrating after a couple of weeks when the seller has 40 calls and no one actually coming to the home to preview it.

??‍♀️Who’s Entering your home?

Eager sellers want to show their home to anyone and everyone. It’s completely understandable, the more people that see it, the more likely you’ll get a buyer, right? An experienced REALTOR® knows how to screen for the right people to look at your home. There is no point of wasting your time shuffling your kids out of the house because someone’s grandma wants to see what wood flooring you put down a few years back with no intention of actually buying the home. REALTORS® know what documents to ask for and which ones are really not worth the paper they are written on. (Here is an example of the difference of pre-approved and pre-qualified,

? Selling with Pressure.

Many FSBO sellers will stay in there home to show it and rightfully so. The FSBO sellers will show their home pointing out features that either does not interest the buyer or make the buyers completely uncomfortable. After the showing is over they may ask the buyers for feedback which most buyers are uncomfortable in doing so in a face-to-face situation, in turn, the FSBO sellers really don’t get the feedback they really need to get the home sold faster.

??‍♂️Negotiations and Home Inspections.

When it comes to negotiations with inspections things can get really heated as I mentioned in my last video, Buying for sale by owner without a realtor .  FSBOs often believe that there is nothing wrong with their home which is why it’s upsetting when the buyer requests items to be corrected or fixed before moving forward with the transaction.  This can often lead to the FSBO refusing to repair any items, which is a great way to scare away potential buyers. Sellers don’t want to give there home away and the requests for repairs seem absolutely ridiculous to them, This is when most sellers realize they should have gone with a professional REALTOR to handle the uncomfortable nature of discussing money and what will and will not be repaired.

Before you decide to sell your home FSBO, remember, the statistics say you have about a 10% chance of making that happen. If you decide you want to take on the challenge. Make sure you are aware of the above common reasons why For Sale By Owners fail.  An FSBOs Seller who understands what the most common pitfalls are will greatly increase the chance that they have a successful sale.

?To search for homes in the Baton Rouge and Ascension Parish Area:

?If you have any questions about buying and selling your home feel free to reach out to me at any time by email or any respectable time by phone?. All my contact information is listed below.

Kristina Smallhorn is a realtor in the Greater Baton Rouge Area with EXP Realty LLC
My name is Kristina Smallhorn, Your Real Estate Whisperer and I tell you all this “Because YOU Matter”
Cell 225-246-1812
2900 Westfork Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70827
225-412-9982 ext 149,
Kristina Is a Licensed Realtor® with The Greater Baton Rouge Board of Realtors@ in the State of Louisiana. License #0912122918

Staging Your Home To Sell, Master Bathroom.

Staging a home when you are about to put it on the market can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. If you can’t afford a professional stager there are some simple ways you can stage your own home when you are about to put it up for sale. This week, I show you how you can stage your bathroom with some super easy “pro tips”.

As I have shown homes lately in Ascension Parish and the Greater Baton Rouge areas, I have noticed that many homeowners haven’t highlighted the best features that sell a home, The master bathroom and kitchen are rooms that truly need to be the glowing showcase of a home since these are the areas buyers look for most. You want to get top dollar for your home when selling it, simple staging can help you with your goal.

In this video, Your Real Estate Whisperer (Kristina Smallhorn) shows how to showcase your master bathroom on a budget if you can’t or don’t want to hire a professional home stager.

If you like to see more tips for staging your home including how to remove the smell of dog urine out of the carpet ( be sure to subscribe and hit the notification bell so you won’t miss any of my tips for buying and selling homes.

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Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana in The Greater Baton Rouge MLS, license # 0912122918
eXp Realty LLC,2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401, Baton Rouge LA 70817
Cell Number: 225-246-1812, Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

Your Real Estate Whisperer Kristina Smallhorn "Because YOU Matter"
Your Real Estate Whisperer For Ascension Parish, Kristina Smallhorn.

How To Get Rid Of Dog Urine Smells In Carpets And Upholstery.


 It’s Take a Tip Tuesday. Does Your House Smell Like Dog Pee?

Hi, my name is Kristina Smallhorn, Your Real Estate Whisperer for Ascension Parish. And if you have animals, you may not even know that your house has a pet odor. And one of the worst odors you can deal with pets is when they have accidents and they have urinated in the house. You may not smell it, but buyers that do not have pets can.

There is a way to get rid of the smell, believe it or not. I discovered this trick from a client of mine who contacted me. She told me that her dog had left quite a mess after being left alone in a room for too long and they had the hardest time getting the smell out. So she gave me these great tips to get that smell out because I have dogs. I thought I would share that with you as well.

So, when it comes to old dog stains, and old dog odors, it seems like they even get stronger the older they get. I know that for this dog, she still is a puppy so we have accidents in the house and it happens. So what you’re going to want to do, if you haven’t caught it when it was still wet. If it’s wet you’re going to want to, you know, pull up the damp spot, but if you didn’t catch it when it was still wet, it’s not too late.

What you do is you take the spot that was dirty. Apparently, she wants to help as well. And you have a spray bottle which I just filled up an empty spray bottle with vinegar. And you’re going to, it’s just white vinegar, so you’re going to … Get out of here. Go. I’m shooting a video here, go. You’re going to spray that spot with vinegar and you’re going to get it pretty wet and of course it does smell like a salad, but it gets that dog urine strong smell out of the carpet. Okay. So of course what that does is kind of reactivate the dog pee. So you’re going to let that sit for a little bit.

Once it sits, for I would say a good 15 minutes, you’re going to take an old rag and you’re going to kind of push on that spot and get all that excess white vinegar out, and then after you have gotten all that excess white vinegar out, then you are going to sprinkle good old baking soda. Remember Mom’s baking soda? And you’re going to push that into the carpet where the white vinegar was. And I would put a good old healthy helping on here. And I kind of like take the rag and kind of push it back into the carpet really deep so it gets really into the carpet fibers there. Kind of like, make almost like a paste of this in there to get that really under the, if you have the carpet pad underneath as well. Let that sit on there until it makes like a crust, okay?

And then once it makes that crust, you’ll see that the baking soda has drawn up all that dog pee that was underneath at the bottom. And then all you do is vacuum it up and it’s done. And you do not have that smell anymore. It’s fantastic. It was a great trick, I was so glad that my client called me and told me about it.

So if you have a home that you have for sale, and the complaints have come in that they smell dog pee in the house, this is a great way, a cheap way to get that dog pee smell out, even out of old, old stains. If you’d like some more tips on selling your home here in Ascension Parish, you could always visit my website at If you’d like to get some information about buying homes here in Ascension Parish, you’re more than welcome to download by free e-book, I will put a link to the description above.

My name is Kristina Smallhorn, Your Real Estate Whisperer for Ascension Parish and I tell you all this “Because YOU Matter”!

Kristina Smallhorn
Your Real Estate Whisperer Kristina Smallhorn "Because YOU Matter"
Your Real Estate Whisperer For Ascension Parish, Kristina Smallhorn.

Your Real Estate Whisperer

eXp Realty LLC
2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401
Baton Rouge LA 70817
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

Fall Flower Beds Looking Scared From The Summer Heat?

So What Do Your Flower Beds Look like Here In Louisiana?
Mine, Look Disgraceful And If You Are Trying To Sell Your Home Now Is The Time To Spruce It Up! I Went To Louisiana Nursery, To Get John MacMillians Opinion Of What Was The Best Plants To Add.

Need More Curb appeal for selling your home in the fall season?

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.26.34 PM

When selling a home during the fall months in South Louisiana it is still important to keep your yard looking its best (even though the grass has now turned brown and the green luster not to come back until the spring). I’ve listed some things below that could help your prospective buyers still be in awe of your yard, ignoring those brown blades of hay-looking grass.

  1. Rake your yard from falling leaves. This alone can make a yard look fresh in comparison to other homes that are for sale.

  2. Plant fall flowers and put a lot in. I say it to my clients almost as a joke, but I’m slightly serious as well. If you see an empty spot in your flower beds and add as many fall flowers as you can. Nothing makes a house feel more like home than bright flowers to greet you before you enter. I found that pine straw works best here in Louisiana instead of mulch because of our heavy rains we get here.

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.25.53 PM

  1. Add color to your front door. If it needs painting, now is the perfect time to do it. A nice fall colored wreath can add a nice dress-up to the entry making the first impression inviting.
  2. Outdoor lighting. As the days become shorter, now is a good time to invest in some great outdoor lighting, A well-lit home from the outside always adds great curb appeal.

  3. Pot Some Plants- If your home doesn’t have many flowerbeds that you can add to, you can spruce up your outside by getting large flower pots and adding flowers with color in those. That always looks charming around a home.


  1. Don’t forget to clean out those gutters and pick up any toys and lawn hoses.

Clean and paint your mailbox.

This is a rarely thought about item in your yard but used almost daily. A fresh coat of paint on a tired mailbox can make your home stand out as being well kept. This time of year it is typical for the market does slow down a bit.  Don’t take for granted how your outside decor can attract buyers. Sometimes the yard alone is what sells the house.

“Because YOU Matter”
Kristina Smallhorn
Your Real Estate Whisperer
eXp Realty LLC
2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401
Baton Rouge LA 70817
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149
Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana


Ascension Parish Coffee Talk, Inspection Connection-Episode #11


The Home Inspection

Anytime you purchase a home in Ascension Parish or Anywhere in Louisiana. You have the right to inspection. There is no “Pass or Fail” grading to a home inspection. It just helps the buyers make a clear knowledgeable decision to what problems, if any may be wrong with the home. Some sellers have a pre-inspection done on the home to know of any unseen problems and make the repairs prior to listing. I’d still strongly advise getting your own inspector to look over the home when you have your inspection time. I’m listing some things you should know about the inspection period of a signed purchase agreement.

logo Frank .gifTime Frame-

Most purchase offers the state a ten day inspection period, but that, of course, that time frame can be negotiated. During this time the buyers have the right to have the home inspected at their expense. This means the can hire or not hire anyone to go over the home to detect problems that may not be known to the seller.

Who gets to inspect the home?-

Like I said before, anyone can inspect the home for the buyers. A licensed inspector holds more weight than let’s say your cousin who does home improvements for a living. The buyer can also have a structural engineer inspect the foundation, Have another inspector check for mold and another to take soil samples for various reasons. They can hire whomever they want during this ten day period to look over the home. These inspections are always approved by the sellers to allow the buyers to do this prior to the appointment. They can’t just show up during this time unannounced.

quality-control-1257235__340Do the sellers have to do all the items the inspectors find?

The best answer for this is NO! Inspectors can find major problems and not so major problems. An A/C not working properly is an issue for concern. Chipped paint from a weed wacker along the hardy board on the side of the house, not so major.

How long do the sellers and buyers have to respond to the request?

In the state of Louisiana, they have 72 hours after receipt of inspection request to respond to the repair request. This time frame is for the sellers to make calls and get quotes for the cost to them of the requested repairs. In turn, the buyers get 72 hours to respond to the seller’s response to the report. Meaning if the seller chooses to only half the repairs requested the buyer has the same amount of time to get quotes and make decisions to the items that were declined from repair.


Do I still have to buy the home if the seller doesn’t want to make repairs?

Unless stated in the agreement prior, the buyer does not have to buy the home if the seller is unwilling or incapable of making repairs. As long as the inspections were done within the time frame allotted for inspection.

Can the sellers negotiate the price if repairs aren’t going to be made?

Yes, The buyer can request instead of the seller making the repairs that either the sales price can be reduced or the buyer can receive closing costs. This part is something you can negotiate after you have determined the costs of the requested repairs.

Many things can and will happen during the inspection period. At a more recent inspection, I was in the kitchen as the inspector was checking a bathroom plumbing. As I sat, I began to felt water dripping on my head. I look up and the A/C drip pan was leaking from the ceiling. The inspection ended right there. The sellers had no idea that there was a problem but the buyers didn’t want the home when they saw this. The thought the sellers were trying to dump their problems on an unsuspecting buyer. This wasn’t the case but you can see how the buyers would feel like this.

It’s important for buyers to hire a professional inspector, this example was more obvious than other problems that could come up. If you are concerned about issues with your home prior to listing you may want to consider a pre-inspection. I tell you all of this “Because YOU Matter”

Kristina Smallhorn
Your Real Estate Whisperer
“Because YOU Matter”
eXp Realty LLC
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149



Why Not go FSBO in Ascension Parish?

Of course me being a REALTOR® I am going to tell you why “For Sale By Owner” doesn’t really work out in everyone’s best interest. That’s my job right? Well, I am going to be honest, it does workout for some people. They sell their home fast for the price they want, but could they have avoided the paperwork and aggressive marketing stress? Could they have put themselves in danger because they hadn’t properly vetted the possible buyers? Could they have gotten it sold faster? Could they have not wasted their precious time with unqualified buyers? The answer to all those question is without a doubt YES!!!!!!! Let me explain.

On the first point it is my job to educate buyers and sellers to why “For Sale By Owner” is not always the best idea. We in the industry know our market better than anyone. We know what’s selling. We know the best marketing plan. We know when a home is overpriced and isn’t worth what the “For Sale By Owner” is asking. Most of all we know how to put together a contract that protects the buyer and the seller. We know our profession. So much goes into buying and selling a home. It isn’t just the contract. You have to understand and know the right people. For instance, do you know the closing attorneys in your area that specialize in your type of sale? A REALTOR® does. You have to know the right inspectors to inspect the home for buyers – a REALTOR® does and for less money than finding one on your own. Not to mention any addenda to the contract if something during the transaction comes up. Most “For Sale By Owners” do not protect themselves using the right verbiage or addenda from negotiated terms after the contract is signed. In the end, this costs them money and possible litigation.

Onto my second point – pricing the home. Most sellers are trying to sell the home for what their neighbors got down the street. So if the home down the street sold for $200,000. They want the same thing. Guess what? The appraisers know that the sellers are not paying a commission to the agents and may give you less value to your home because of it. Also, both pricing and values fluctuate and decrease, so in order to have your home priced in line with the rest of the comparable homes, you need to know the market. A REALTOR® does and can give you the best competitive price for your home.


When I began working in Ascension Parish as a REALTOR® the sales contract was 3 pages. Now its 7 pages. When I put in an offer to send to the listing agent I have a minimum of 15 pages to send. All of these pages are to protect the buyer and the seller. I add addendums and disclosures, so everyone in the process is aware of the “in’s and out’s” of the transaction. These forms wouldn’t be used in most cases when you are buyer or selling a “For Sale By Owner”. Furthermore, I know what the sales contract means – every single line – something that only an experienced REALTOR® or an attorney would know.


We live in a day an age where we don’t really know everyone in Ascension Parish. At one time we knew someone in your family. Whether it be your momma or your sister’s cousin, somehow we could figure out who you belonged to. It’s not that way anymore. Our Parish has grown in leaps and bounds, but with that we need to be careful who we allow in our homes when we are trying to sell a property. Our safety, even as a REALTOR®, when we show homes to prospective clients is forefront. Not too long ago an agent was kidnapped and killed, because she showed a home to a prospect that she hadn’t vetted first. It can happen to anyone, and you have to know what questions to ask to know if they are serious or just want to stake out your home to rob you blind at a later date.

I make sure that ALL of my listings have a SUPRA® lockbox on them. I know who’s come to your home and at what time. These are “smart” lockboxes and I receive a text message letting me know anyone who come into your home using the keys from this lockbox.

Sold faster? Really?

This is statistically true, You can just do a quick Google search in your area and you will see that not only does a REALTOR® sell it faster, they get more money for your home. When you list on your local MLS you are presenting your home to ALL the agents in the area that are members of the MLS. This means that if they have a client that’s been waiting for a home in your price range, they will be sending that client the home the minute it hits that market. Generally most agents don’t even look at the “For Sale By Owner” website since many will not pay the buyer’s broker a commission, or the website isn’t updated regularly and the home had been sold months ago. A REALTOR® knows how to market your home with professional photographs, the right kind of marketing, and how to showcase your home in the best light with staging and decluttering.

In closing I’d like to say this. I personally handhold each one of my clients. It’s just the level of service I like to provide. Some people have had great success selling their home themselves, but more than many have not. Wasting many weekends hoping someone would call to see their home, I take personal pride in helping sellers not waste their precious time or their safety with unqualified buyers. I make sure buyers do not waste their time with homes that are over-priced when listed “For sale by Owner”, as do many agents. That’s why “For Sale By Owner” isn’t the best way to go when you want your home sold fast. It doesn’t save you money, because you had to pay all those mortgage payments waiting for a buyer. In the long run it cost you.

I tell you all of this “Because YOU matter”