Take A Tip Tuesday- 3 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before You Consider Buying A Home,


Take A Tip Tuesday-Are You Ready To Buy A Home In Ascension Parish?

3 Things To Ask Yourself.

If you have been sitting in your apartment wondering if you could possibly buy your first home, there are a few things you can ask yourself before you pick up the phone to call a mortgage company. Many people, not just in Ascension Parish, wonder if they can get a home of their own but they are either afraid of the answer or they think that the process is too difficult to take on. Before you choose your lender or Ascension Parish REALTOR®, ask yourself these simple questions.

Do I Pay My Bills On Time?



Lenders look at few things when it comes to debt. First is debt to income ratio. In simple terms, how much do you make and how much of that is spent on paying your bills. If you make $1500.00 a month and $1200.00 is spent on bills then you probably aren’t ready to buy a home. Your credit score plays a big part as well. If you can’t pay your bills on time, this will affect your credit score and makes you look like you won’t be able to pay the mortgage on time. No lender wants their money late or have a payee not make a payment. The risk is too high for the lender/bank to want to take on.

Learn your credit score! There are so many sites that offer free credit reports. Even if you’re not looking to buy a home currently, it’s a good idea to know where you stand. You need to know if something needs to be removed from your credit report or if you need to close that old Bed Bath and Beyond credit card that you have never used.

Do I Pay More In Rent Than I Would For A Mortgage?


If you are not sure, you can look for a mortgage calculator online. You can find one on my website, http://yourrealestatewhisperer.idxbroker.com/idx/mortgage to help you to make that determination. Make sure to consider the taxes, insurance, and monthly utilities. Many times, especially with rent being as high as it is here in Ascension Parish, the cost of a home will be lower than your current monthly rent, AND there are usually significant tax advantages to home ownership!

Do You Have Any Money Saved?


There is a misconception that you won’t need any money to buy a home if your credit is good. While there are financial assistance programs, and even some 100% financing, you will still need some money! You will still need funds for the costs of appraisal (around $500) and the cost of inspections (around $350-450.) These fees are not typically added into the 100% financing plus you’ll want some extra reserves for things like the cost of your move, refrigerator, washer, and dryer or other unexpected costs that could arise during the home buying process.
Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, are you ready to buy? If you feel pretty confident with your credit score and savings account, plus you know your rent is higher than a mortgage, it’s time to call a lender to get qualified. I have the names and numbers of local lenders that I have often used who would be happy to work with you and help evaluate your home loan needs. Every client is different and so are their home loans; let them speak to you about your unique situation.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. You can always reach me by phone, email or text. I tell you all this, “Because YOU Matter”.

Kristina Smallhorn
Your Real Estate Whisperer
eXp Realty LLC
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

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Ascension Parish Coffee Talk-What Happens When You Apply For A Home Loan?


Ascension Parish Coffee Talk Episode #13

I wanted to show the people of Ascension Parish the in’s and out’s of the loan process when buying a home. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that we never get to see. Even as a realtor, I was unaware how all their systems worked.

In today’s episode, I was able to go to GMFS lending again and meet the family of employees that work there. Ryan Larussa discusses the process a new home buyer goes through when he meets them for the first time and introduces his team of employees to us. We also meet other members of  GMFS Lending, Carol Gremillion discusses with us the reverse mortgage programs that GMFS has to offer, Aaron Taravella, Doug Bickley and Toby Arceneaux pop in to say “hello” to the Ascension Parish Coffee Talk Family. My daughter, Aubrey Smallhorn does the audio duties this week as she takes on her new role as “Your Real Estate Assistant”

Make sure to watch this all the way to the end and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any new episodes. I post every Friday at 8:30 am every Friday. Why? “Because YOU Matter”

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

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Take A Tip Tuesday-Buying An Ascension Parish Home From Out Of The State.


Buying An Ascension Parish Home From Out Of State? Tips To Help You Handle That.

Buying a home in Ascension Parish from across the country has become a much easier task. I would have told you several years back “Anyone buying a home off the internet is crazy” now I’m eating those words. As scary it may sound I’ve had several clients do this recently and it has become more popular with access to video, virtual tours and signing documents with electronic signatures buying across the world has been a piece of cake and all of my cross country buyer have been tickled pink with their new home purchase. Here are some tips that can help you handle the process a little easier.

Investigate Your Ascension Parish Neighborhood.

It’s important to do your homework when buying in Prairieville or anywhere for that matter. A Realtor® can help you with this and the Internet is your friend. You can get neighborhood market reports from your Realtor® and look up crime statistics from a quick Google search. Even if you don’t have children it is important to find out what the schools are like in the area so when you go to sell your home it will be appealing to future home buyers.

Budget Your Travel.

Not only will you need to know your moving expenses but you will need to create a budget to view your future home at least once. I strongly recommend this, even though I have had a few clients that bypassed my advice and follow through the process without ever seeing the home in person until after closing. The reason I recommend this is only because you really can’t poetry a feel of a neighborhood by pictures or video. Unless you have a friend or relative that can help you with this I’d take a trip to see your new digs.

Narrow Down What You Really Want.

To make it easier for yourself its best to make a list of absolute “must haves” in your next home. After you have done your homework on location, price and size you need to narrow down the list to thing like fenced in backyard, 2 car garage, and open floor plan. This will make your choices more tailored to your specific needs and not have to rifle through several listings being sent to you. Working with a local Realtor® is essential with this aspect of cross country home buying. 

Overcoming Cross Country Home Buying.

For some home buyers, the thoughts of buying across the country can be overwhelming. Even with all the technical advances, it does little to settle their nerves. This would be a perfect idea for those clients to consider renting in our area for 6 months to get a feel for the area, traffic peak times and convenient shopping areas. Many people opt for this but please consider how much it will cost to store your items that won’t fit in your rental. Make sure you will be able to break your lease after 6 months with our penalty and be sure to add your deposits to your budget when making this choice. 

For the most part, Internet home buying has become a new way of life for many. Even my 84-year-old Aunt bought a home that she strictly saw in videos and pictures I had sent to her. Be sure to find a Realtor® that will take the time to do this for you so you get the best representation of the home you will be buying.

“Because YOU Matter”

Kristina Smallhorn 

Your Real Estate Whisperer

My Second Website, Click HERE!

eXp Realty LLC



Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149






Made An Offer On An Ascension Parish Home and Got Countered?


Made An Offer On An Ascension Parish Home and Got Countered?

In this current market, you would be hard pressed as a buyer to not get countered if you’re trying to get a bargain on a home.  It is a seller’s market, and sellers are less willing to negotiate the listing price downward.  It’s possible but unlikely.  I just want you as a buyer to be prepared for a counter offer.

Why Was Your Offer Countered? 


When you make an offer on a home in Ascension Parish one of four things can happen. The buyer can either accept, reject, counter or simply let the offer expire.  (Most offers come with an expiration date). So if the seller counters, there could be a lot of reasons.

  1. Did you offer way under asking price?
  2. Was the closing date too soon or too distant?
  3. Did you ask for too many items like pool equipment, refrigerator, washer, dryer or expensive window coverings that the homeowner treasured
  4. The sellers didn’t want to pay for a home warranty.
  5. You made the inspection period too far into the future.
  6. You asked too much for closing costs.

These are just some of the many reasons your offer could have been countered, so what do you do now?

What To Do When Your Offer Is Countered.


Make sure to review your counter carefully with you Ascension Parish Realtor®. This is when having a REALTOR® at your side is most advantageous to put you, the buyer, in the best position.

Review all your comparables with you, REALTOR®.  You don’t want to overpay. Evaluate if you really need those closing costs.  Make sure your interests are being protected but you’re still going to win the house. If you see that there are issues with the home you may want to accept the seller’s countered price, and then have them reduce the price after you’ve had the home inspection.  It’s important to consult with your Ascension Parish Realtor to make sure that this counter offer “if it’s because of price” will appraise.  Have your Realtor® reach out to the seller’s agent to get a better feel for what the seller’s position is.  Are they selling because of financial hardship?  Or, did the sellers get transferred?  These could be great things to know if you’d like to counter the counter offer.

If all else fails, and the counter offers go flying back and forth, you may need to walk away.  You have heard the expression, “plenty of fish in the sea?”  Well, in the housing market new listings arise all the time and others go back on the market.  Don’t get yourself too wrapped up in a home where the sellers and or listing agent are unwilling to be flexible to get the deal done.

“Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

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Buying A New Home In Ascension Parish?  Five Things You May Want To Budget for After The Closing.

Ahhhh, the smell and wonderment of a brand new home in Ascension Parish!  The allure of buying a brand new home is second to none. You’ve saved for the down payment, inspections, and all closing costs. What expenses could possibly be left?  Read more to find out!

1. Appliances


Of course, the oven, stove, and microwave are there, but what about the washer, dryer, and refrigerator?  Many builders in Ascension Parish do not offer an appliance package.  Only a few builders do. Make sure you have extra money set aside for those appliances that are not included.  Very importantly, DO NOT take out any new lines of credit before closing. If you do, it could hinder your loan from closing on time or possibly not at all.

2. Security.


More and more I have seen homes in Ascension Parish that are not pre-wired for alarm systems. You will have to set aside some money for installation and also decide if you’d like to add security cameras.  You can get an estimate done prior to closing so you’ll know how much this could cost you. I recommend you reach out to at least 3 vendors to get a good idea of pricing.

3. Windows


As much as you love the amount of natural light comes into the home, you certainly do not want the neighbors looking into your bathroom. Many windows are a standard size and you can buy window coverings for a reasonable price.  Definitely measure your windows and see if standard sizes will fit, and make sure you don’t forget the windows on doors. 

4.  Landscaping


When it comes to landscaping in a new home in Ascension Parish, builders really don’t go all out to get them picturesque.  Many builders do not even sod the backyard!  They will only do the front and along the sides.  The remaining sod is up to the buyer and can cost thousands to have the rest done.  Make sure you have the extra money to make this investment.  I can tell you from my nearly 10 years of experience, If you decide to seed your yard instead, it never looks as nice as a sodded yard and you will be fighting weeds for years to come.

5. Fencing


I have never sold a brand new home that came completely fenced in by the builder.  If this is important to you, just ask your builder or Ascension Parish REALTOR® for recommendations for a quality fencing company.


Whenever you buy a new home or even an existing home, your previous furnishings may not fit with the floor plan or style of the new home.  Be prepared to possibly needing new furnishings but be sure NOT to do this prior to closing.  You DO NOT want to take out any new debt prior to closing on your new Ascension Parish home and new lines of credit can put your closing in jeopardy.

“Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

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What’s The Difference Between “Contingent” and “Pending” in Ascension Parish?

You see the sign in the neighbor’s yard “For Sale,” and you know what that means, but when you look on the internet and you see homes you like only to learn that they are either “Pending” or “Contingent.”  What does that mean, and can you still make an offer on the home?


A couple years ago I had a buyer who was annoyed with me because I was sending her listings that were marked “Contingent”.  She thought this meant that she couldn’t have the house so why would I be sending them to her.

This is not the case!  A contingent home is one that has an accepted offer but has special conditions that allow other buyers to make an offer as well.  For example, a home on 123 Love Bird Lane is for sale; the Brown Family are buyers that put in an offer that is accepted by the sellers but they need to sell their current home first before they can purchase the home on 123 Love Bird Lane. The sellers Realtor® now mark in the MLS that the home is now contingent. The Smith Family sees the same home on the internet that’s now marked contingent, takes a look at it and puts an offer on the home that the sellers do not want to turn down.  At this time the Brown Family is informed by their Realtor® that they can either remove their “contingency” and hope their current home closes without issues, or they can walk away from the home on 123 Love Bird Lane and find another one.

This can be devastating for Brown family, it’s a risk to remove a contingency as they could be left with two mortgage payments if their current home doesn’t sell. Some buyers are willing and able to take the risk;  others not so much.


I generally don’t send listing’s that are marked “pending.”  When you see “pending” above a listing, that means the home has an accepted offer and is in the inspection and financing part of the process of the transaction. The seller cannot consider other offers since there are no special “contingencies.”

In Ascension Parish we’ve seen many homes recently go pending quickly. With the recent flood, many buyers have cash in hand and are ready to move into a new home.  Just know if you see a home marked “contingent,” don’t be afraid that the home of your dreams is gone!  You can always ask your Ascension Parish Realtor® if the sellers are still willing to show and/or consider another offer.  Remember, “it ain’t over, ’til it’s over!!”

“Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

Your Real Estate Whisperer

So…The Sellers Of An Ascension Parish Home, Not That Into You?

It happens from time to time. Buyers here in Ascension Parish find the home of their dreams, put in an offer they believe is fair and the sellers won’t budge.  It doesn’t seem fair to you
and your Ascension Parish Realtor® have gone over comps and studied the area thoroughly.  It happens, so what are you to do when the house of your dreams seems to be slipping from your fingers?

Try your MAX!

Discuss this with your Ascension Parish Realtor® and see if they agree with your plan to go to the maximum offer.  It can’t hurt to try this tactic if it looks like the comps can support the offer. You don’t want to be in a predicament where you make an offer, but it doesn’t appraise. If a seller isn’t that into you, they could just put the house back on the market and not negotiate the appraised price. Maybe it’s simply time to move on!

This could be tough if you are absolutely in love with a home but some relationships do need to be broken at times, even with a dream home.  To stand back pouting, crying and wasting energy on a house that’s wasn’t meant to be could make you miss out some great properties that come on the market, especially in our current market when houses go FAST! You just never know, sellers at times do come to their senses and revisit old offers. Yours might be one of them.

Don’t Try To Figure Out A Sellers Motives.

This just a waste of your energy and can drive you crazy adding unneeded stress.  Only the seller knows why they turned down your offer. You can ask your Ascension Parish Realtor® for more insight into the matter,  but if the seller is unwilling to cooperate, don’t get too emotionally annoyed.   

A Learning Lesson.

Take your experience from this seller as a learning experience when negotiating on your next home using it as a litmus test of the current market. Your knowledge can make your next offer stronger and less likely for a stubborn seller to walk away.  Ask yourself some questions before you go into your next deal.

Analyze what you could have done differently.  Could you have gone your maximum at the beginning? Did you take too long to respond to a counter? Did you ask for too much in extras like closing costs or furnishings? Just take your time, sit back and think what you would have done differently.

Losing a home of your dreams, to put it mildly, really sucks but I promise there are other houses out there that are just as nice if not better. I have seen it time and time again when a buyer loses a home only to find one that was much better at a later date making them feel like they dodged a bullet from a bad home buying experience with stubborn sellers.  I tell you all of this “Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

What Prairieville Home Buyers Need to Know Before Closing Day.

Home buying can be exciting for some, heartbreaking for others (due to circumstances of buying) or a non event for a few. Whatever your personal feelings are about the closing process, there are some things you should know.

Don’t delay, mortgage rates expire.

When you are in the loan process,  the lender will “lock” in your rate. This lock doesn’t last forever; usually 45-60 days.

Any number of issues can arise from the time of signing a purchase agreement, until the day of closing. Permits, inspection issues, illegal renovations and liens on a home can make the day of closing further away than expected.  A rate lock expiration could cost you a lot of extra money.

The mortgage process isn’t over when you drop off papers.

Many buyers believe once they have dropped off all the documents to the lender, it’s smooth sailing, Well I can tell you for a fact that many times they will need to verify income, assets, credit, and retirement funds just a few days before closing!

I know buyers are excited to fill up their new home with new furniture, appliances and decor, but this isn’t a time to get a new line of credit with anyone.  Any blip in your credit report can throw the whole loan process into a tailspin, as changes in your financial status can put your chances of loan approval into jeopardy.

Do your walk through prior to closing.

Do not assume that the sellers have done the necessary repairs which were negotiated during your inspection period. This is the time to make sure that they have been done to the satisfaction of the terms negotiated in the repairs request.

Also, the state of Louisiana Purchase Agreement states that the home must be in the same or better condition as the day you put in the accepted contract.  I have seen closings delayed because the lawn was as tall as a small child and the home inside was a dirty mess.

Your Closing day maybe very low-key.

I know you have seen these extremely excited sellers sitting at a closing table handing over a set of keys to equally excited buyers with hands held out with joy. Well, now the rules have changed as far as closings go.  Most times the buyers and sellers are in separate rooms and sign papers individually; other times the sellers come to the closing table at the end of the process, which is after the buyer has signed all their loan documents.  I know this may ruin the dream you’ve held dear in your mind, but I can tell you that it will still be just as joyous to have your new home after the papers are signed.  Plus, with some people, its better to be separated so the atmosphere in the closing room isn’t tense.

Be proactive!

During the waiting period prior to closing,  it is best for buyers to be proactive and do their research. Make sure you have a good local Realtor® who can off set red flags and be honest with you when things are not going quite right.  Always hire a qualified inspector when you have your inspections of your new home. Prior to putting in an offer on a home, get yourself a lender that you are comfortable with, and who is willing to take your calls when you have questions. Lastly,  never feel intimidated to ask questions of all these people; as my elementary school teacher said, “there are no stupid questions!”

“Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

New Trends in New Construction in Prairieville Louisiana 

Every year trends in new construction change with the times. Eight years ago only a few homes had a new product called radiant barrier. Now,  many new homes in Prairieville have it as part of the standard. As we move forward you’re going to see more homes with some really neat features that will make you want to buy NEW again.

SO what’s in the Prairieville forecast?

Energy Efficiency

Homes completely wrapped with radiant barrier, not just for the attic. I have seen these in neighborhoods like Parker Place and some other newer developments. Time will tell if this trend will continue but with our summers being as hot as they are, it seems reasonable they will continue to proliferate.

As common as radiant barrier has become, you only see half of the new homes being built with tankless water heaters. The advantages of having one are, endless hot water and cost less to run. The disadvantages, If your home loses power, the tank won’t run unless you have backup generator power even though it is mainly powered by natural gas, it still does need electricity.

Smart Homes

As our world becomes more connected and technologically driven so has the desire to make our homes. Security systems run from our phones; if you forget to close the garage door, theres an app for that. Wonder who’s been at your doorstep? Cameras pre-installed that can be shown on your phone will tell you. Kids didn’t turn out the lights when they left the house, Well, you you can turn them off with an app on your phone as well as get a chronicled time line of what doors have been opened and at what time. There are also two way speakers, WiFi doorbells and a myriad of other  personalized home security systems.

The electrical outlets in many newer homes are truly starting to show the sign go the times. More and more I have seen homes having outlets with USB connections so you won’t need a separate cube to recharge all those devices. A very SMART idea since everyone has a device that needs charging these days.

Going solar

As exciting as the idea is, it doesn’t seem to be something builders in our area have adopted yet. Maybe next year that could be something to look forward to seeing.


Barn doors seem to be quite the trend with both buyers and builders.  This trend won’t be disappearing anytime soon as people love the fact that the door doesn’t impede on the useful space in room, and builders love the fact that they don’t have to do a pocket door (most builders loathe constructing a home with pocket doors because of redirecting plumbing and wiring to make them work)

In the Kitchen

Matte appliances, I have only seen this in one newly constructed home and I have to tell you it really does look amazing. As you know, with stainless appliances you see every oily fingerprint and slightest imperfection. With these new matte options you won’t need to have a cleaner in your back pocket wiping down appliances every time someone walks in the kitchen.

Many of these trend are here to stay; some are just a fad like your mother’s green shag carpeting that you grew up with but it’s interesting to see what our homes will have next. If you’d like information on builders that can help you create the newest, latest and greatest in new construction, just give me a call. I’d love to talk with you. Why?

“Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

4 REASONS Why you need a licensed Realtor® when buying a NEW home in Prairieville.

It’s exciting to walk into a new home with the possibility of being your next home. All the finishes are polished, The carpet hasn’t been stepped on looking worn, The granite counter tops would make any of your friends jealous, so what could go wrong by just buying it from the builders themselves. I mean, it is new. Well, as you probably could have guessed many things can go wrong and do go wrong when you go at it yourself. Below Ive listed 4 reasons why you should really hire a licensed local Realtor®. 

1. Contracts and Addendum’s

 When buying a new home in the state of Louisiana, many builders use their own contracts.  Realtors® always have clients sign a state contract as well,  so the buyer can understand their legal rights as buyer. Other builders do use the state contract but will add many addendum’s along with it. Those addendum’s vary from, explaining the elevation of the home, to explaining the flood zone the home is being built on. They can be extremely confusing especially if you haven’t seen anything like them before. Many buyers get so excited by the idea of the new home and just sign away before really reading through the papers they are signing. An experienced Realtor® knows the in and outs of what you should and shouldn’t be signing.

2.  Finding a reputable builder.

When a Realtor® has lived and worked in Prairieville like I have, we have seen the good, the bad and the really, really awful in home building. You should want to know who’s been building in the area for years, and who can be trusted to come back if you have any issues with your home after the closing date. 

*** I have a list of builders that have built homes for my clients in the past, I know they are completely trustworthy, and stand by their work. If you’d like some more information on home builders in Prairieville feel free to call or email me.***

3. Assist you in negotiations.

Generally here in Prairieville the listing price is the price and builders will not negotiate it lower but a savvy agent knows how to get you a sweeter deal with incentives. For example adding an appliance package or upgrading counter tops for the buyer to get a little extra for the same price. Some builders are still willing to work with agents to get the deal done. 

4. When something goes wrong.

Nobody likes to feel like they didn’t get what they paid for. When things go wrong your Realtor® should be going to bat for you. They know how to handle situations that can get pretty ugly if you don’t have someone in your corner protecting your best interests.

BONUS: When deciding on upgrades it can be difficult to know which one will give the best bang for your buck. Your Realtor® does, especially in our area. When it comes time to sell your home at a later date, it is always good to know what appeals to buyers to make your home sell quicker in the future.

New home buying can be smooth sailing, you just need to have someone on your side during the process. If you are looking in the Prairieville area and would like to talk,  feel free to call or email me with your questions. 

Because YOU matter

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn Your Real Estate Whisperer