The HOA And The American Flag

The battle is on with many homeowners has become all on war with the HOA and the American Flag. With the 4th of July being right around the corner, now is the perfect time to talk about the American Flag and your HOA. I had a client call me to ask can the HOA ban the American flag from being flown on her property? She also wanted to know, can the HOA tell you can not have an American flag? In this blog post, I will tell you what rights you have when displaying your American Flag when it comes to your HOA. I will also tell you your right for various other flags like ones that support sports teams. I know from personal experience that HOA’s can get power hungry and silly about rules but it is important to know the rights you have as an American and not let your HOA’s bully you into submission when it comes to the Amercian Flag.

I have read stories recently and seen in the news how the HOA has been preventing homeowners displaying their own American Flags on their own property. Of course, homeowners are shocked by this and I was too. (WATCH This News Story Of A Woman Told To Remove Her American Flag From Her HOA ) I couldn’t believe that an HOA wouldn’t want the American flag shown year-round proudly in their yard. Some HOA’s believe that the American flag is a season item and need to be taken down after Federal Holidays. Many homeowners, myself included challenge this with the Federal law that was set in place called: The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 (Pub.L. 109–243, 120 Stat. 572, enacted July 24, 2006) is an Act of Congress that prohibits real estate management organizations from restricting homeowners from displaying the flag of the United States on their property.

So you CAN have a flag on your property but with that being said the HOA can still dictate the size of the flag and the location of the flag on your home. As an example, you can not have the flag intruding on walkway or sidewalks. Another example: you can’t have a flagpole taller than 10 feet and must be 15 feet from the property line. (To watch a video about flag poles and location of them from the HOA/City https://youtu.be/BEhCrmEGFU0)

Other flags have rights to be displayed as well but are not covered in the American Flag Act of 2005. Any flag displaying a persons religion, race, heritage, disability or sexual orientation are covered in discriminations laws and the Fair housing act. If you run an HOA you need to know and understand these laws so you do not discriminate against any one person or people. (To watch a new story about how this woman’s rights were violated https://youtu.be/A1nguvEzbCw)

I hope you display your American Flag proudly this 4th of July as you have the right to do so no matter what your HOA states. Be sure to check the restrictions to know where and the size of the flag that falls in line with the bylaws.

God Bless The United States Of America

Kristina Smallhorn (Your Real Estate Whisperer)
Cell 225-246-1812

Your Real Estate Whisperer Kristina Smallhorn "Because YOU Matter"
Your Real Estate Whisperer For Ascension Parish, Kristina Smallhorn.
EXP REALTY, LLC, 2900 Westfork Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70827 – 225-412-9982 ext 149
Info@YourRealEstateWhisperer.com
yourrealestatewhisperer.com/ kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com

Kristina Is a Licensed Realtor® with The Greater Baton Rouge Board of Realtors@ in the State of Louisiana. License #0912122918

Selling Your Home While You Are On Vacation.

It’s Take a Tip Tuesday. Do you know what to do with your house when you’re going out of town? This is what you need to know when you are selling your home when you go on vacation, Hi, my name is Kristina Smallhorn, your real estate whisperer for Ascension Parish and we’re getting ready to go out of town. But do you know what to do with your house if it’s listed for sale and you’re going out of town? You’re going to want to know these tips.

Make sure you don’t leave any wash in the washing machine. Imagine leaving clothes in the washing machine for three days and what that smell would be like. Buyers wouldn’t really like that when they walk into your laundry room. I think we got everything. Oh, wait one second. You see this right here? These plugins that make your house smell so good? Either turn them all the way off or just take them straight out of the wall. The thing is is that when you’re not in the house and the air is not circulating a lot, when the buyers walk in the house the smell is just overwhelming and then they smell nothing but floral and they think that you’re hiding some kind of smell. So when you’re going out of town, just either turns them all the way down or just pull them straight out of the wall and put them in a safe drawer until you get back into town. So when you’re heading out of town you’re going to want to turn off your water. I’m going to give this case in point. That picture has been floating around Facebook since Christmastime and somebody left their water and of course, the water came through the ceiling and caused quite a problem. Even if you’re in a frozen tundra area where it’s going to freeze like a glacier, you’re still going to want to turn off your water. Look, you know if you have a ceiling the pipes are above you, anything can happen. Just turn off the water. All right so we’re going to attempt this, okay? Did it. All right so I nearly killed myself but I did get the water off. And when you turn the water off you’re going to want to let your real estate agent know that you turned the water off. ‘Cause what if your house goes under contract and you have an inspection? And then inspector goes in and says, “The water doesn’t work.” So you’re going to want to let your real estate agent and the home inspector know where that water turn on is. There’s one more thing I forgot to tell you. Make sure that you go ahead and give an extra key to a neighbor or to your real estate agent. If you don’t have time to go over to your real estate agent’s office, it’s always good to give it to a neighbor. Not only can they pick up the mail and the newspapers that have been left out, they can also water your plants. Sometimes these electronic lockboxes technology doesn’t work the way we want it to and it’s good to have an extra key that you’ve given to a neighbor so that way they can let in a buyer’s agent to show your home. I know when you’re heading out of town you are probably going to want to set your alarm system to your house. Make sure that your real estate agent has that alarm code ’cause it’s happened before that a buyer’s agent walks into the house, the alarm goes off and they didn’t give the alarm code to the selling agent. So make sure that you give that to them. All right, one last tip. When you’re getting on your flight, make sure you let your real estate agent know what time your flight’s at. You don’t want to miss any contract deadlines when you are on a flight and you never know if you get a contract when you’re on that flight, you don’t want to miss that deadline either. Bye. Bye. If you’d like some more information about buying homes in Ascension Parish area you can always visit my website at yourrealestatewhisperer.com. My name is Kristina Smallhorn, your real estate whisperer for Ascension Parish. And I tell you all this because you matter.

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

kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com,info@yourrealestatewhisperer.com 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

A Day Listing A Home, In Ascension Parish- Realtor Vlog

I took a day listing a home here in Ascension Parish. This super cute home for sale is a new listing for me, This week I will be showing you how listing a home for sale can be a little more trouble than just sticking a sign in the yard. Listing a home in Ascension Parish takes a lot more work than you think. I will be answering the questions you may be having about home listing when they go up for sale like, What are the steps in listing a home? What happens when you list a home? and why would you want to pay someone to measure a house? I meet up with Snap-Shot Photography to measure the home and take photographs. I’ll show you what it takes to get a home on the market but spare you the paperwork (which takes you the longest and would not make for a great video.) Let me show you more about the resale of this existing home be sure to watch the video of this week’s vlog.

Here is the link to the home’s details https://bit.ly/2whb4SC

To schedule a private showing call 225-246-1812

This Home Has A Huge Backyard In Prairieville!

The property is almost an acre! You get the best of both worlds with this home, You’ll be a part of an awesome neighborhood and you’ll have a HUGE backyard. When you step into the foyer you’ll fall in love with the cool modern grey color scheme that leads you to the large open concept living room and oversized traditional style kitchen with attached dining area. From the living room, you walk down the hall to the enormous master bedroom, plenty of room for a California King bedroom set. The ensuite master bathroom has a stand-alone shower, jetted tub and double sink with plenty of cabinetry to store bath towels and toiletries. Out from the master, the paint color scheme continues and down the hall has two more large bedrooms with fantastic closet space for each of them. Once you step into the backyard you won’t get over how big it is. You will have plenty of room to have a massive crawfish boil, Backyard barbecues or put in the large swimming pool you have been dreaming of, the possibilities are endless. I know once you walk through this home you won’t want anyone else to have it. (Please note: This home DID NOT flood during the 2016 floods, Window curtains and hooks in children bedrooms will not remain with the home)

Be Sure To Like Share and Subscribe To My YouTube Channel And Don’t Forget to Hit The Notification Bell https://bit.ly/2jsyQSK

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

kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com,info@yourrealestatewhisperer.com 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

A Montage To My Dog Static – His Story

On February 22, 2008, our family became guardians of a second chance dog named Static. He was a little black Pomeranian, almost 2yrs old, born with a deformed foot, a heart murmur, and a skin condition that caused him to be partially bald. Despite these issues, or maybe because of them, Static and our eldest daughter, Aubrey, had a connection like I’ve never seen before. He was Her Dog, and She was His Girl, and that was that. 

At 4:30am this past Tuesday, I heard Static coughing. This was not unusual, as in his 12yrs of life, he’s always had allergies this time of year. However, this time, the cough was different. He wasn’t able to “cough it out” like a cat coughs out a hairball. Instead, I could hear fluid moving as he breathed in and out, and his breathing was labored. I’d already made the decision to take him to the vet when my husband awoke shortly after. 

When Static and I arrived in Cypress Lake Animal Hospital, the man that greeted us had a look in his eyes that told me my dog was much sicker than I thought he was. You know how people working in the business can just tell these things? This man knew, and my heart sank a little. 

As I waited for the test results, I kept thinking “Maybe this isn’t really that bad. Maybe it’s just his allergies.” Then the Veterinarian came in and said: “Static has congestive heart failure and his lungs are filled with fluid.” Wait, what? Where did this come from? What did we do? What can we do now? How much time does he have? Months? Weeks? Days? 

The vet gave me a few options for interventions that could keep Static going a little longer, all of which involved him staying at least overnight in the hospital. All I could think about was how terrified our sweet boy would be, all by himself, feeling sick, possibly thinking we’d abandoned him, leaving him to die alone! Given that he was in full crisis, and there was no guarantee any medical intervention would be successful, my husband and I made the difficult decision to let Static go that very day. 

When they wouldn’t let me take Static out of the vet office, as distraught as I was, I screamed at the Veterinarian “You’re NOT keeping my dog! I have to let my kids say goodbye! You’re NOT keeping my dog!” God Bless him, in the calmest voice, he kept repeating back to me, “You can’t take him, he’s drowning in his own fluids.” Despite this truth, I had visions of dodging everyone in my way, busting through the front and back office, grabbing my dog, and running out the back with him! Fortunately, in a moment of clarity, I said to the Vet very calmly “I’m going to get my kids. Please don’t let him die before my kids say goodbye.”

It was the longest drive of my life, first picking up Static’s Sydney, Then Statics Favorite girl Aubrey. It felt like it took us hours to get back to Cypress Lake Animal Hospital. My husband was there waiting for us when we arrived, and they let the four of us take Static to a room. We had one last hour with our sweet boy, during which he took turns saying goodbye to each of us. First to Aubrey, His Girl, the Love of his Life. Then to Sydney, even doing the “puppy” pose, the one and only trick he knew that she’d taught him. Next, he came to me for our ritual brushing that he absolutely loved. And, finally, he cuddled with my husband Eddie. Once he’d made his rounds, Static looked over at me and smiled his smile, as if to say “I’m ready.” I snapped a photo of that smile. 

We let the Doc come back in, and while Static was surrounded by his family, he received a medication that made him fall asleep very quickly. The second medication stopped his already worn out heart. It was all over in just a few minutes. We wrapped him up in a towel. He didn’t look any different than just a few moments before, but he felt limp. I rocked him in my arms, “ssh, sssshh, sssshhhing” him like he was a crying infant, wanting to comfort him, tell him “I’m sorry”, unable to shake the thought that maybe I’d made the wrong decision.  Sydney left the room first, as he was gone to her now. Aubrey stayed a little longer, and told him everything she loved about him, and how she’d remember all the crazy times they had together. The room fell so quietly after that, and it was time to go. We carried Static’s body to the front desk, and we left because we were supposed to just move on. 

The house just doesn’t feel the same. He didn’t even weight 8lbs, but Static’s presence could be felt, and it sure is missed. My daughters have waves of grief, each experiencing it differently. Sydney is more expressive, while Aubrey prefers to be alone with her thoughts. As for Eddie and myself, we are both more heartbroken than we thought we’d be. I mean, we’d had to put a dog down before, but she was REALLY old, blind, lethargic, and we had made the decision some time prior to taking her in. This was so sudden, so final, and we weren’t ready to let him go. But maybe that’s the way Static wanted to be remembered. Not old and worn out, but happy and peppy, and HIMSELF! My heart wants that to be so. 

Now, I hope that as a family, we heal. Sydney, my youngest, keep saying “I know it’s corny, Mom, but he’s gone, but will never be forgotten.” And she’s right. Static is gone, but he will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace, Good Boy.  

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

How To Clean Those Window Blinds Easily.

 Are Your Buyers Going Blind ‘Cause They Can’t See?

 It’s Take A Tip Tuesday!

 Hi, I’m Kristina Smallhorn, your Real Estate Whisperer for Ascension Parish. We all know that we wanna show our house in the best light possible, but if the light can’t come through because your blinds are dirty, then that could hinder some buyer saying, “Wow, it’s dark in this house.”

 I mean, let’s be honest. The blinds would have to be pretty filthy for that to be a real issue, but one of my clients has asked me to find the best way to clean your blinds. It would be, first of all, cheap, secondly of all, fast, and thirdly of all, easy.

Sydney my daughter, is out of school this week and she said she was going to help me find a way to clean the blinds. I figured since she’s a helper, that would help with time. We’re gonna try some different methods that people have suggested to clean your blinds in your house. Let’s get started.

***And We’re now off to the dollar store to get inexpensive supplies.***

 We got our supplies at the Family Dollar and they wouldn’t let us film inside the Family Dollar. I don’t know why it’s a requirement not to film in the Family Dollar, but as soon as we walked in the store, she’s like, “You cannot film in our store.” I didn’t know it was such a top secret thing to not film in the Family Dollar. Okay, but we’ll show you our haul when we get home. Don’t tell them what we’re gonna do.

At the Family Dollar, we got plenty of things. Microfiber cleaning sponges, some tongs. How much did everything cost… A $1.00!

 When we were at the Family Dollar, my husband suggested he had a very cool way of cleaning the blinds. I thought this would be a fantastic trick to share with everybody for cleaning your blinds.  First, you’re gonna take two sponges. With those two sponges, you are going to cut a slit in them. These sponges are microfiber. What you’re gonna do is you’re gonna slide the sponge over the little tongs.

 We’re gonna take the tongs and put them so it’s clamped onto a blind, and we’re just gonna slide it across by putting a little bit of pressure on it. This will get all the dust off underneath and above. Oh, look! You can see the dust. That worked really well. There’s one more method I’d like to mention. My mom used to take the whole blind off the wall, and then she’d go out into the driveway, put it on the ground, spray the whole thing with Fantastic, wait a couple minutes, then hose it off. I think that’s a great method for a blind that’s in the kitchen and you have a lot of grease that’s caked on it. But other than that, you can just leave them on the window and use the tongs with the sponges. I think that’s a super method.

Sydney and I, hope you found this trick useful. If you’d like to know more about selling homes here in Ascension Parish, you can always visit at YourRealEstateWhisperer.com. If you’d like to search for homes here in the Ascension Parish area, Click ***Here*** .If you’d like to know more about buying homes here in Ascension Parish, I have a copy of my free e-book***here*** .

 My name is Kristina Smallhorn, I’m your Real Estate Whisperer for Ascension Parish. We tell you all this “Because You Matter”!

Your Real Estate Whisperer Kristina Smallhorn "Because YOU Matter"

Kristina Smallhorn is Your Real Estate Whisperer, kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com

eXp Realty LLC
2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401
Baton Rouge LA 70817
225-246-1812
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149
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TWITTER
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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 yourrealestatewhisperer.com. 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

kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com

eXp Realty LLC
2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401
Baton Rouge LA 70817
225-246-1812
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
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What Time Is Trick Or Treat Time In Ascension Parish 2017 Plus Safety Tips

What Time Is Trick Or Treat Time In Ascension Parish 2017?

I LOVE Halloween!  Over the years I’ve even decided to dress up myself. Why not let the kid inside come out for a night? Here in Ascension Parish every year there is always a question if Halloween will be on a weekday (If October 31st falls on one) or will it be changed to a weekend prior to October 31st. This year will be no different than any other year. Halloween will be on October 31st, 2017.

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS, TAKE A TIP TUESDAY
My Girl’s Trying On Different Costumes

“The Ascension Parish Council has set its trick-or-treating hours for Halloween. On Oct. 31, children can trick-or-treat between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. All children must be chaperoned by an adult. Those participating are urged to observe safety precautions, use flashlights and avoid walking on main or heavily traveled highways.”

Here Are Some Lagniappe Safety Tips To Keep You Safe This Halloween In Ascension Parish.

  • An adult should always accompany young children on the neighborhood rounds.
  • If your children are older and will be going alone, plan a route together that is acceptable to you so you know where your children will be going.
  • Be sure to agree on a specific time children should be back home, and make sure they have a way to track the time.
  • Be sure to tell your children not to enter anyone’s car, stranger or otherwise, no matter how tired their little legs may be.
  • Make sure to tell your children to walk only in familiar, well-lit areas and stay with their friends
  • Let your children know, as tempting as it may be, not to eat any treats until they return home (you’ll want to review all candy that’s in the bag; never eat candy with opened wrappers)
  • Be sure to check to see if all pieces of the costume are fire resistant.
  • Check any masks that are being worn to see if they obstruct the view for the child.  Be sure they can see properly to watch for cars and where they are walking. As you know, we have some rather deep ditches in front of many properties.
  • Add reflective tape and use glow sticks so they are easily seen at night.
  • Test your Halloween makeup beforehand! I know from personal experience that some Halloween makeup can be extremely irritating to small faces. My 4-year-old had hers off in five minutes after I had spent 45 mins applying it. As annoyed as I was, after it was removed, her face was as red as a beet, I felt horrible that I hadn’t checked to see if she was allergic to that particular makeup. So, that year she was a clown with a red face!

    Have A Happy And Safe Halloween Ascension Parish.
    Have A Happy And Safe Halloween Ascension Parish.

I hope you found this useful for you here in Ascension Parish. Please Stay Safe! I tell you all this “Because YOU Matter”.

Kristina Smallhorn

kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com

Your Real Estate Whisperer

eXp Realty LLC

2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401

Baton Rouge LA 70817

Direct 225-246-1812

Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

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Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana 
Your Real Estate Whisperer Kristina Smallhorn "Because YOU Matter"
Your Real Estate Whisperer For Ascension Parish, Kristina Smallhorn.

Do You Have That Weird Toilet Ring In Your Ascension Parish Home?

 

The Royal Flush. 

Watch The Video Of My Toilet Ring Cleaning

 

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I don’t know about you and your home here in Ascension Parish but for the past two homes I have owned I have had nothing but issues with this weird ring in my toilet. I am a clean person, and this ring makes me feel gross. I have tried all the “do it yourself” products which include a pumicing stick, vinegar with baking soda, green scratch pads, you name it. I have also tried every blue, green and purple cleaning product with no resolution for this stubborn brown ring that haunts my toilet bowls. 

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Until last week!,  when by chance I saw a post on Facebook about a product at Goodwood Hardware on 7539 Jefferson Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70806 called Ring King. I normally hate driving out of Ascension Parish to buy things but I really really hate these rings in my toilet. So off I went, brought the stuff home, followed the directions to the letter and VOILA! The ring is FINALLY gone. This find was too good not to share. I found out later you can order online from them as well, Here is the link, https://goo.gl/N89WEU 

I have been in several homes throughout  Ascension Parish and have seen these pesky rings of grime in many of them. So I thought I really needed to share my wonderful find.  The bottle runs just under $10.00 and if you are like me you’ll be willing to make the trek to Baton Rouge to go get it or you can order it online with the link I provided above. Why? “Because YOU Matter”

PS- I am in no way getting paid as a sponsor for this product, I just know this stuff works!

 

Be Sure To Like, Share And Subscribe To My YouTube Channel!

Kristina Smallhorn

kristina.smallhorn@exprealty.com

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

https://www.facebook.com/YRRealEstatWhisperer

https://twitter.com/RealEstateWhisp

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Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana 

Did You Know You Could FREEZE Your Property Taxes In Ascension Parish?

Do You Know You Could  Freeze Your Ascension Parish Property Tax Assessment?

A few weeks back I was sitting in a closing with an older couple who were selling their home here in Ascension Parish and moving closer to their children. When the closing attorney was getting to the part about property taxes, he said something about their frozen property taxes.

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I had never heard of this before and was a little disappointed with myself being a REALTOR® in Ascension Parish I should know something about it. I leaned into the table and asked the listing agent across from me “Did you know about this, frozen taxes?” She shrugged and said “No”. After that, I felt a little better but wanted to know more so I can tell the people of Ascension Parish about how they could save money.

So what is “Freezing Your Taxes?”

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Homeowners who become 65 can permanently freeze their assessments if they have an adjusted gross income below the scheduled amount. How much is that amount? When my parents went to the tax assessors office in Ascension Parish it was $72,000.00. The woman at the office was extremely friendly and was really willing to answer all my parent’s questions about their property taxes.

So How Do I Go About “Freezing Them?

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It is simple to apply. You must go in person to the Ascension Parish Tax Assessors office with a copy of your latest tax return and your driver’s license. You only need apply once, as you do not have to reapply every year.

The special assessment is permanent as long as you continue to qualify: That means you continue to own and reside in your home. In addition, your adjusted gross income cannot exceed the scheduled amount and the value of your house does not increase more than 25% due to any new construction.

If the owner dies, the special assessment passes to the surviving spouse who has minor children or who is 55 or older and meets the other qualifications. Veterans who are at least 50% permanently disabled also qualify to for the special assessment freeze.

In Louisiana, a property is reassessed every 4 years, so don’t wait to freeze your tax assessment.

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If you do qualify this could save you money in the future. Please share this information with anyone you know that could possibly qualify. I want everyone in Ascension Parish to save money, Why? “Because YOU Matter”

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

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Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana 

 

Take A Tip Tuesday- Is Your Home Prepared For A Hurricane? My Experience With Things that Weren’t On Any Checklist.

 

Take A Tip Tuesday- Is Your Home Prepared For A Hurricane? My Experience With Things that Weren’t On Any Checklist

hurrican pic

With the most recent hurricane Harvey that came pretty close to our Ascension Parish area, I thought now would be a good time to remind people of things they should do prior to a storm coming closer to our shorelines. I moved to Ascension Parish over 10 years ago from Florida so I have seen my fair share of hurricanes.  One hurricane season in Florida we had 5 hurricanes/tropical storms hit every weekend for 5 weeks. Floridians are more accustomed to having their homes prepared for these occurrences and typically don’t really even think about what they “Need” to do; they just do it. Here in Ascension Parish, since I’ve lived here, I have only seen one hurricane that truly affected our area for an extended period of time. Hurricane Gustav took the power from our home for 12 days. When you have small children 12 days is like 100. I learned a lot from that experience and I wanted to share my tips for preparing your home that some checklists may not mention.

The one thing I wished someone had told me.

Days before a hurricane is about to hit, you get your water, batteries, fill up your gas tanks and are running around like a crazy person trying to think of everything, but one thing I hadn’t considered was the laundry. If I knew that everyone in my household was going to change clothes 3 times a day because they were drenched in sweat, I would have made sure everything was cleaned before hand. Even if you have a generator it may not be powerful enough to run a washer and especially the dryer, at least it didn’t for us. Presently, I have a whole home generator, but I’m still not sure if it will run the dryer. So get ALL your clothes and towels cleaned prior to the hurricane’s arrival so you’ll be stocked up for frequent changes of clothing.

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But The Trees Are So Pretty.

Many of us haven’t seen winds like what comes from a hurricane. Years may pass before we have the trees properly trimmed, whereas, an arborist can truly get your trees prepped for strong winds. I was very fortunate prior to Hurricane Charlie hitting the central Florida area to have had my trees cleaned up by a specialized arborist. When Charlie left our area, my neighbors were cleaning up many tree limbs and some had trees ON their homes, my trees and home were spared. It honestly was the best money I spent and I was extremely lucky that I had that done prior to the hurricane season.

***Don’t forget that newer trees will need to be staked to the ground firmly or they can pop-up right out of the ground.***

No Matter How Heavy You Think It Is, It Can Go Flying.

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I learned this lesson the hard way and I know I’m not the only one. We had this HUGE trampoline, and this sucker was super heavy and we really didn’t think that thing was going anywhere. The next morning after Hurricane Gustav had left, our trampoline was in a field half a mile down the road. I felt like an idiot for not at least trying to stake it in the ground. I’m not even sure that would have helped. A few doors down from my home, a neighbor had a fishing boat that was on a trailer and the winds tipped that boat over on its side cracking it to the point it couldn’t be saved. My advice is if you have ANYTHING outside that isn’t concreted down, then try to find a place for it inside, like a garage, or if worse case scenario, rent a storage unit.

I’ve Got A Generator, I’ll Be Fine.

So many of us have generators sitting in our garages but when was the last time you actually ran that thing? I remember clearly my neighbors stating that they had a generator after Hurricane Katrina and they were prepared, Then the power goes out during Gustav and they couldn’t get the thing running. Since we are in full swing of the hurricane season, now is a great time to have your generator serviced and get it running so you know it works when you really need it.

Get Your Mind In The Gutter.

Remember to check the gutters around your home and see if any are loose and need tightening up. Winds from a tropical storm or hurricane can send those flying if they haven’t been maintained for several years.

My Last Piece Of Advice Not On Any Checklist.

When our family experienced hurricanes, we made one central room for the “cooling zone” since we only had one window ac unit that could run off a generator. So we made the master bedroom that central hub for sleeping. We moved some furniture out and pulled the kid’s mattresses into the “cooling zone” room. This wasn’t the most ideal sleeping arrangement but it did make sleeping so much nicer for everyone in the family. Plus the kids like the idea of “camping” in mom and dad’s room for awhile (by day 8 they had had enough).

This is just my personal list I have put together to help you prepare your home for an impending tropical storm or hurricane. For a more thorough list, I’ve attached the American RedCross Hurricane check list.

Be Red Cross Ready!

Hurricane Safety Checklist

Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life- and property- threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds, and tornadoes.

Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane.

What should I do?

What supplies do I need?

What do I do after a hurricane?

J Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

J Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.

J If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

J Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.

J Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.

J Stay out of any building that has water around it.

J Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.

J Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.

J Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.

J Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.

J Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.

J Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.

J Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

Know the Difference

Hurricane Watch—Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued.

Hurricane Warning—Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

J Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).

J Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

J Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.

J Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food

J Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).

J Flashlight
J Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

J Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.

(NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) J Extra batteries
J First aid kit

J Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.

J Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)

J Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.

J Sanitation and personal hygiene items

J Fill your car’s gas tank.

J Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

J Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.

J Cell phone with chargers
J Family and emergency contact

J Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.

information

J Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

J Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

J Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.

J Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

Let Your Family Know You’re Safe

J Multi-purpose tool

J Extra cash

J Emergency blanket

J Map(s) of the area

J Tools/supplies for securing your home J Extra set of car keys and house keys
J Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes
J Rain gear

J Insect repellent and sunscreen J Camera for photos of damage

If your community has experienced a hurricane, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site available through RedCross.org/SafeandWell to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.

For more information on disaster and emergency preparedness, visit RedCross.org. Copyright © 2009 by the American National Red Cross | Stock No. 658543 1/10

I hope you found these tips useful if you’d like to read more tips please visit my blog at yourrealestatewhisperer.com, and I tell you all this “Because YOU Matter!”

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

info@yourrealestatewhisperer.com

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Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR® with the state of Louisiana