Thinking of Flipping A Prairieville Home? 5 Things to Consider.

With the recent Flood of 2016 in August many people have been considering taking on a home flip. A home flip is defined by as a type of real estate investment strategy in which an investor purchases properties with the goal of reselling them for a profit. Profit is generated either through the price appreciation that occurs as a result of a hot housing market and/or from renovations and capital improvements. In short, most people believe what they see on T.V.,i.e.,  buy a crummy house, for super cheap, in a decent area and within a few weeks  sell it for a HUGE profits making them tens of thousands of dollars within a 30 minute show.  As you can image television reality isn’t reality.  I’ve listed some pitfalls of doing your own flip so you can be better prepared before taking it on for yourself.

Cost of repairs.

Many people underestimate how much things cost.  My best advice is to make a list of all the visible items, and plan ahead for the unexpected. Make a list of each item, get online and shop prices and have a side budget for things that come up as you are doing your flip. Try to estimate cost of repairs for items you are not 100% sure will need to be replaced so you can remain within budget.

Make a proper plan.

You can’t just go for the deal of the century without having a proper plan of action. You need to plan for ups and downs in the market. You need to plan for the time of year the home will be complete; to list it and lastly you need to realistically evaluate  how much you can really handle.

Pricing your flip.

Every investor wants to get the most bang for their buck, but if you list your Prairieville home too high you may have priced yourself out of the market. If you are not seeing offers in a busy market within the first two weeks, the market has rejected your price and you have lost valuable time getting your flip home sold quickly.

“I’m Going To Be a MILLIONAIRE!

Slow down there! Just like most anything, this will not make you Donald Trump over night. For newer investors the dreams of making it big and doing it easily can be too much,

and they get in way over their heads. This is not a get rich quick kind of thing.  Take your time in a well coordinated pace, dedicate yourself to lots of hard work and you’ll do well.

But I can do it all by myself.

This is the biggest mistake most new investors make. They know how to lay tile, and had seen several YouTube videos on how to do some plumbing and now they feel like this will save them tons of money. This actually could be a very costly mistake which may delay your completion. It is best to call in experts to do these things and  get as many quotes as you can before settling on a particular tradesman.

A final thought…you CAN make money flipping houses in Prairieville. Many investors do and profit handsomely from it. Those that do, have made a budget, scouted the neighborhood, determined a level of profit, made a plan and had great contractors who will work with them on timing and prices. All of these things will help you.

If you’d like help finding homes to flip and personalized advice on our market in Ascension Parish please do not hesitate to call so we can talk about your investing goals. Why?

“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

How Social Media Can Help Sell Your Prairieville Home.

How Social Media can help sell your Prairieville home.

You are hard pressed to meet anyone who isn’t on some kind of social media platform. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, GooglePlus, Flicker and Pinterest are just a few that are being used daily by millions of users. This is a great opportunity to get your home in front of those millions of users, in turn selling your home quicker than traditional methods. Traditional methods do work but have shown to take much longer to sell.

Why Traditional methods take longer?

Not too long ago a Realtor® would list a home, put a sign in the yard, take several pictures with a regular camera, put it on the MLS and host an open house by advertising in a local paper, Hoping to God that someone saw the Sunday mornings paper, If the listing didn’t sell after a while,  they would market in local home magazines found at the grocery store or in bins outside of restaurants. Did this work? YES! Here in Prairieville this had been the recipe for success for many, many years. 

So whats changed about marketing my Prairieville home?

Before I answer that question,  I want to pose a question for you. When was the last time you bought a Sunday news paper? Better yet, Do you have a newspaper delivered to your home anymore? Many of us do not, I haven’t ordered a news paper in 8 years. News happens so quickly now that by the time it has been printed its already old news.

With social media become progressively the way most people look for news, it is also the best way to present your home to prospective buyers. I’m not talking about taking a picture with your cell phone and throwing it on Facebook wishing for the best. What I’m talking about is a Realtor® who knows how to get to as many users as possible and have your home in front a thousands of potential buyers. A tech savvy Realtor® understands how to do this. They understand how social media works and know that it takes more than a photo with a cell phone to do the trick.

How I can help you.

I use several social media platforms to sell your home, I can discuss with you my plan on how I use social media to make your home go “viral” putting it in front of as many users in your area as possible. I do use some traditional methods as well.  The combination of the two is a great marriage of the old way and the new way, appealing too many different kinds of buyers. The end result, your home sells faster. 

“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

Buying a Prairieville home from out of state? Here are some tips to help you.

Buying a home in Prairieville 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 as it may sound,  I’ve had several clients do this recently and it has become more popular with easy access to video, virtual tours and signing documents with electronic signatures.  Buying across the world has become much easier, and all of my cross country buyers have been extremely pleased with their new home purchase. Here are some tips that can help you handle the process a little easier.

Investigate your Prairieville neighborhood.  

Its important to do your homework when buying in Prairieville or anywhere else 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 for 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 went  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 get a feel of a neighborhood by pictures or video. 

Narrow down what you really want.

To make it easier for yourself,  it’s 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 things like, fenced in backyard, 2 car garage or open floor plan. This will make your choices more tailored to your specific needs and not have to sift through dozens of  listings. 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 thought of buying across the country can be overwhelming. Even with all the technical advances, it does little to settle their nerves. Some folks have considered  renting for a period of time to get a feel for the area, including traffic and convenience. If this approach appeals to you, please consider how much it will cost to store the items that won’t fit in your rental Also, be sure you fully understand the terms of any lease, including any penalties. Any deposits that are required must also be added to your budget.

Clearly, Internet home buying has become a new way of life for many. Even my 84 year old Aunt recently bought a home that she saw solely in videos and pictures, and never saw the actual house until she moved in!  

In order to do this effectively, it is imperative to work with a Realtor® who has knowledge of the area, the ability to provide you with various visual displays, legal real estate expertise and one who will take the time to get you all the necessary information.

Because YOU Matter

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina SmallhornYour Real Estate Whisperer

Buying a newly built home in Prairieville? Here are 6 important things to know.

In Ascension Parish we sell a lot of new homes, The area has grown by leaps and bounds, especially in the last 10 years.  Sometimes I forget how much it has grown until I get in my car to go shopping for groceries. Not too long ago, I would have to drive several miles just to get to a grocery store or a pharmacy. Now, we have much more convenience. It’s really become a convenient little town. No wonder why people are flocking here. We have affordable housing and fantastic public schools in addition to the convenience.  As the result, home builders have been busy scooping up large parcels of land and building new homes like little worker bees. I can hardly keep up with all the new neighborhoods that have been popping up throughout the parish.

To give you an example, last year there were 973 homes sold in Prairieville alone!  Of those 973 homes, 355 were new construction. These homes vary in price from the $160s to the high $400s.

So what do you need to know before buying a new home in Prairieville?

1. What is the builder offering?


Does the builder offer to pay closing costs? Do you have to use their preferred lender? Do you have to use their preferred title company? If you don’t use the preferred provider will you still get some kind of incentive like fencing, window blinds or upgraded carpeting?

Many larger builders do offer to pay your closing costs, sometimes as much as $5000, but with the caveat  that you have to use their preferred lender and title company. I would strongly recommend shopping the lenders so you are getting the best deal in the long run. Sometimes when you see that they are “giving” you $5000 in closing costs, the preferred lender simply puts that money into your loan somewhere else.

2. What are the standard finishes?

We all get impressed when we walk through a model home. Its impeccably decorated and has all the bells and whistles! It’s easy for anyone to envision themselves living there. So its very important to ask what is standard and what is considered an upgrade. Finishes like rubbed oiled bronze, crown molding in all the bedrooms, and tiled showers might all be considered an upgrade, which could add significantly to the price of the house.  Flooring is a very popular upgrade,  and if you are wondering if this is a good upgrade investment, the market seems to suggest that it is.   More and more people are asking for homes without any carpeting. 

3. What is the neighborhood going to be like when its complete?

Has the builder bought the whole neighborhood? You need to know this because if the builder owns the entire development, the unsold lots will most likely be filled with similarly designed and priced houses, whereas if the development utilizes various builders, the construction may be significantly different both in architectural design

and cost. You need to be wary of anything that might devalue your home.

Is this a large builder that will be able to finish what they have started? What is the timeline for it to be built out?  Not many people like living in a construction zone, as the sounds of noisy trucks, nail guns and other construction equipment can grate on your nerves, especially over long periods of time.

What are the amenities the neighborhood is offering?

When the neighborhood is finished it always nice to be able to be in an neighborhood that offers amenities for its residents like a manicured front entrance, play area for children and a community swimming pool.

4. Is there an HOA? 

You’ll need to pay close attention to this, so be sure to get a copy of the rules and regulations PRIOR to your new home purchase. Some HOA’s are extremely strict with many limitations placed on the homeowner.You need to look them over to see if these rules and regulations are reasonable for you and your family.

For more information on HOA’s in Ascension Parish, visit this post;

5. What kind of warranty does my home offer?

In the state of Louisiana your home is covered by The New Home Warranty Act, covering your home for several years on certain aspects like the foundation, plumbing and wiring. The link below will give you access to the details. No builder can opt out of this coverage.

To get a copy of the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act, Follow the link below 

6. Check References.

Google, and the Internet in general, have made it so easy for the home buyer to get good referral without having to take the builders nicely packaged referrals that are sitting in their lovely glossy new home packet!   It’s not unheard of, to drive in a neighborhood and ask people what they think of their home and how the building process went. You can check Facebook to see if the builder has a business page with reviews. Also, ask your Realtor® what their experience with the builder has been in the past.

If you are considering building a new home, I have the name and number of several builders that I have worked with in the past. I know many bigger builders as well, so please, feel free to reach out to me to ask questions and get more information.. Looking forward to your call.  225-246-1812. Why, You ask……..

“Because YOU matter”

Your Real Estate Whisperer 

Kristina Smallhorn Your Real Estate Whisperer

Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge : Parade Dates and Krewe’s

Krewe of Artemis- February 17, 2017

see the above link to the parade route.

About: The Krewe of Artemis was founded in 2001 with the vision of bringing the Mardi Gras spirit and tradition to the Baton Rouge community with a female twist. Joanne Harvey, Krewe Captain, was born and raised in New Orleans and wanted to bring that city’s version of Mardi Gras to Baton Rouge. After experiencing the formation and success of the Krewe of Orion, through her husband, Charles Harvey (President of Orion), Joanne’s goal was to bring that same spirit and tradition but with a decidedly female angle to Baton Rouge. The Krewe made its parade debut in Baton Rouge in 2003 and has enjoyed tremendous support from the community.

Along with the Mardi Gras spirit comes service to community and the Krewe of Artemis is proud of its involvement with local charities. The Krewe has supported many community organizations, American Cancer Society, Baton Rouge Food Bank, Juvenile Diabetes Association, Race For the Cure and Dreams Come True to name a few.

Krewe of Mystique Mardi Gras Parade February 18th 2017


Founded in 1976, we are Baton Rouge’s oldest parading Mardi Gras krewe and throughout that time we have provided carnival fun for the whole family and people of all ages. We look forward to seeing you!

Krewe Mystique rides on Saturday February 18th, 2017 @ 2pm in downtown Baton Rouge.

Krewe of Mutts February 19th 2017

About: The CAAWS Mystic Krewe of Mutts parade is a fun filled way to spend an unforgettable day with your dogs Mardi Gras style while parading them in what has become one of Baton Rouge’s most beloved events. The parade is the largest fund-raiser for CAAWS and raises much needed funds for the CAAWS Community Outreach Spay/Neuter Program. This is a very special parade that allows dogs and their families to be a part of a Mardi Gras fun without spending a fortune. The parade is a walking parade where dogs and their owners stroll along North Blvd. in their finest Mardi Gras attire. Anyone can enter the parade. You only have to fill out an entry form and pay the entry fee. Dogs are also allowed to watch the parade on the sidelines, but it is not as much fun as being in the parade.

Parade entrants are encouraged to bring “throws” for the crowd. And don’t forget to register your FLOAT. Anything that you can push or pull such as a wagon is allowed but NO motorized floats. All dogs must be on a leash. FOR SAFETY PURPOSES, NO RETRACTABLE LEASHES ARE ALLOWED, NOR ANY LEASHES LONGER THAN 6′. Your dog should have a proof of current rabies vaccination tag. No puppies under 12 weeks, aggressive dogs, or dogs in heat are allowed.

Spanish Town Parade February 25th 2017

About: The Mystic Krewe for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana (doing business as SPLL – Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana) is a 501-C-3 non-profit corporation in the state of Louisiana. Its purpose is to undertake, develop, support and operate charitable, cultural and educational activities to unite all segments of the Baton Rouge community in the promotion of preserving and enhancing Baton Rouge and Louisiana traditions. SPLL is administered by a Board of Directors and sponsors 3 annual fundraisers. The Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade, Ball and Golf Tournament. All proceeds, after expenses, are donated to local charities.

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Tankless Hot Water Heater Blues

Tankless Hot Water Heater Blues

I have a tankless hot water heater that I absolutely loved until the other evening when the temperature dropped into the 20’s. People up north are laughing at this I’m sure but here in Ascension Parish we don’t get this cold that often. With that being said my tankless water heater froze and I was panicked that it was going to explode. It didn’t, thank God but I was nervous for several hours.

For those of you that don’t know Ascension Parish is in the lower south area of the state of Louisiana and most new constructed homes with tankless water heaters have them mounted on outside of the home.

 I was told to wrap my pipes leading to the water heater and that should prevent it from freezing, which I did but it still froze for several hours and again the next evening. If anyone could tell me what I could do to make this not happen again during the next hard freeze please comment below. Any input would be appreciated to my clients and myself in the future.

What to look for when buying a home.


When searching for a home many buyers have a wishlist of items they want. Whether it’s a beautiful kitchen or a spacious yard it’s always something they want that gets them to settle on the home of their dreams. Buyers can get caught up with the bell and whistles of the home and almost dismiss things that can be future problems for them. I’m listing a few things that buyers in Ascension Parish and anywhere you move should look for.

roof damage?

How old is that roof?

This can be one of the biggest expenses of a home. You should always check the property disclosure on how old the roof is and if it has documentation of when the roof was replaced.

How old is the A/C, and when was the last time is was serviced?

I have seen it time and time again. A seller has had an air conditioning unit for the last ten years with no issue but when asked when the last time the air conditioning was serviced they don’t have a response other than to say they have no issues with it. An air conditioning until should be serviced a minimum of once a year to keep it in good operational order making it last for several more years than one that hasn’t been serviced.

What about the foundation?

As you look outside the home I suggest you take a look at the brinks for cracks starting at the bottom and going up the sides of the house. Trees can cause cracks in a foundation and with our weather patterns so can settling. If you are unsure of a particular crack I recommend you hire a structural engineer to look at the slab and give you a detailed report. Typically a home inspector can see these cracks but can’t evaluate if the cracks are a structural problem for the home.

The water heater.

Of all the major components to a home this one is not so hard on your wallet. But an age of a water heater can make a difference in your utility bills. The newest tank-less water heaters are more expensive, but the initial cost outweighs the future expenses, and they have endless hot water which in my house with two girls is a big advantage.


With newer homes generally they are ventless fireplaces, but with older homes they can be gas or wood burning. If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned in some time it can cause a fire hazard. I would recommend that a seller have the chimney swept and cleaned prior to closing the home. I write that in all my inspection repair requests even if it’s not mentioned in the inspection report.

Always have a professional inspection done on your home so you are aware of any defects that need to be resolved. As a buyer I also strongly recommend getting a home warranty. This will protect your investment for the first year you are in the home. It won’t cover the roof or foundation – unless you add coverage to the policy – but it will protect you for the HVAC system and the hot water heater in the cost of any repairs that may be needed. Every area has specific items that should be checked before signing on the dotted line, so please check with your REALTOR® to know those key items.

“Because YOU matter”