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Kristina Smallhorn (Your Real Estate Whisperer)

Cell 225-246-1812


LAKE CHARLES, LA 70601 225-412-9982 ext 149



Why Your Ascension Parish Home Didn’t Appraise.

We all believe our home is the best and is worth every penny of the asking price.  You’ve done all the right things to upgrade, in your opinion. Your home looks the best in the neighborhood and you want to get all you believe your home is worth.  Nothing is more gut-wrenching than to find out that your Ascension Parish home may not be worth what you originally thought.  Below, I’ve listed several reasons why your home didn’t appraise.

All Those Amazing Upgrades!


You know that you’ve done everything to upgrade your home to the highest end.  Extra thick granite, high-end appliances, and an energy efficient water heater have cost you a pretty penny. All these upgrades have attracted buyers, but appraisers may see them differently. You may have over upgraded your home. If there have been several homes in your neighborhood that have sold, and they didn’t have those type of upgrades, the appraiser will not give you the same kind of value that you paid for them, making your home appraise for less than you thought.

Where’d He Get those Comparables?


If a home in hasn’t sold in your neighborhood in some time, the appraiser may have had to pull comparable sales from outside your neighborhood.  This could possibly hurt your appraised value. Also, the appraiser could have been “comparable challenged,” meaning they didn’t use a comparable that best suited your home’s value.

Changing Property Values.


We, in Ascension Parish, have seen home’s values fluctuate dramatically since the Great Flood of 2016.  Some homes have gone up thousands of dollars while in other areas they have dropped thousands of dollars.  With this sudden shift, appraisers have had to really do their homework to get the value right.  Be sure you have consulted with an Ascension Parish REALTOR® prior to listing so you know your home’s proper value due to the shift in the market.


It is unfortunate when you and your Ascension Parish Realtor® have worked together to have the home priced where they believe the home should be priced, only to find out during the appraisal process that the home appraised for less.  There are many great appraisers but sometimes an appraiser’s inexperience or knowledge for an area can affect your home’s appraised value.  You as a seller have options!  Please make sure you discuss these options with your Ascension Parish Realtor®. 

I tell you all this “Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

eXp Realty LLC.new cover EXP

Why Photos Are SO Important When Listing Your Ascension Parish Home.

Not too long ago, we as real estate agents would tell our sellers that curb appeal was the most important thing when putting your Ascension Parish home on the market. When the sign went up, we wanted the people who drove by to be sufficiently enticed to want to see inside.  Now, photos are the new curb appeal!  If you have photos taken with a cell phone camera that are blurry and too small for the MLS, they immediately turn off potential buyers.

Photos are the single most effective way to feature your Ascension Parish home in the best light to buyers, but you will need to work with your Ascension Parish listing agent to prepare your home for the photo shoot so you can capitalize on its features.

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(As nice as picture two may be, with a clear sky, Picture one takes away all the shadows and show the home in the correct way for listing your home in Ascension Parish)

NEVER List Your Home Without Professional Photographs.

I don’t care how good the market is right now; I don’t care what your home’s value is; there is no excuse for poor, sloppy photographs of your Ascension Parish home or piece of land. In today’s world of text messaging, email and social media, your Ascension Parish home or Land can be shared very quickly, and the photographs make your home appeal to buyers.  Bad photos will not be shared except between people telling each other how bad the pictures look!

I know the market is extremely HOT right now but in order to sell your home quickly and for the best price, your Ascension Parish Realtor® MUST take professional photographs!

Prepare Your Home Prior to The Shoot.

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The simplest way to make your photographs turn out their best is to declutter by removing all extra items from the countertops in bathrooms and kitchens, and making sure to put away your coffee pot and toiletries. These items in photographs can make your spaces appear to be smaller than they actually are.  As a rule of thumb, if you don’t really need it, pack it away.  A clean field of vision for your photographer makes for better pictures, which will stimulate your future buyer’s imagination of making it their next home.

The Number Of Photos Counts.

Statistics have proven that the more photos you have, the more likely your Ascension Parish home will sell faster. Don’t think a good picture of the front and back of your home is enough. You should have an ample number of pictures starting at the front of your home, then going into the foyer and through the entire home, ending in the backyard making buyers get a good feel of how the home flows. I believe a minimum of 8 photos should be used for a home and a minimum of 4 photos for a piece of land. As a side note, the MLS allows for many more than 8 photos, so please take as many pictures as necessary to capture all the features of your home.

There is no excuse for not hiring a professional photographer for your Ascension Parish home, and the cost to have them done should not be paid by you, the seller. This should be a part of selling your home and paid for by the agent or broker.  If your Ascension Parish realtor refuses to hire a professional photographer, then I personally would find that unacceptable.  It is not a rule or a law but just something that is not difficult to have done, and the expense should never be a factor.  This is YOUR home and you want it sold fast, and for the MOST money.

If you would like to see some homes with professional photographs that I have listed in the past, please feel free to call me at 225-246-1812.

“Because YOU Matter”


Kristina Smallhorn (Your Real Estate Whisperer)

Cell 225-246-1812

Office 225-744-2610

Fax 225-744-2910



Villar & Company Real Estate,37283 Swamp Rd.,Suite 102 Prairieville LA, 70769

Kristina Smallhorn is a licensed REALTOR with the state of Louisiana, USA.

Has The Housing Market Changed In Ascension Parish Since The Great Flood?

The very short answer is yes and no!  From a volume of sales, we are only speaking of the difference of 12 homes if we look at the same time period of January 1, to March 4th.  In 2016, 258 residential homes sold. This year from January 1st, 2017 to March 4th, 2017, 246 homes sold. The difference is so small enough it would not indicate any change in the market.  Our market can’t be determined by numbers alone. The market is still being driven by all the intangibles offered by Ascension Parish; schools, location, and lifestyle.

So what’s the activity currently? The market is great, but it seems to be leaning towards a seller’s market because inventory is very low and demand is higher due to the lack of homes available due to the Great Flood of 2016.graph-163712_640

(the picture above is not an actual housing number graph)

The energy is high but very optimistic.  Most of the others I’ve spoken to about our market say that they don’t feel like housing prices will spike up like they did after Hurricane Katrina. Most lenders, investors, appraisers feel that kind of spike won’t happen. The majority od people affected are wanting to stay in their current home instead of getting out of town to find a new place to live. While this makes a potentially stronger market for sellers, it doesn’t mean they are getting $10,000 over asking price cash like had happened before. Buyers are much savvier,  and they would rather wait for the correct price home to come along.  While multiple offers are happening,  I haven’t seen or heard of any buyer willing to pay thousands of dollars cash for a home that isn’t worth it. This is good news because it makes for a more healthy market.

We have been blessed here in Ascension Parish that our market, even in the housing crash, never fell out completely with loads of foreclosed homes. We have a lot to offer here other than a nice neighborhood, as we are sandwiched between two major cities making it convenient for people working in either; our home prices are not outrageous and we, of course, have amazing schools.

*** To see Ascension Parish top rated schools visit this link https://youtu.be/-OsYQG4v9ME ***

This is an exciting time in our housing market.  If you are thinking of selling and are trying to time the market to make the most money this might be the best time to get your house on the market. With summer right around the corner and school about to let out, I predict that this will be the busiest our Ascension Housing market has seen in many years, but again, I don’t think you are going to be getting a HUGE increase in price from last year, but your home will sell faster at the price that is fair for your neighborhood.  If you’d like to discuss with me about the value of your home today please feel free to comment below or you can fill out the contact form and I’ll reach out to you within a few hours

( Link to contact me https://yourrealestatewhisperer.com/personally-contact-me/).

“Because YOU Matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhornblog banner

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

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”