Closing Day Checklist For Home Sellers In Ascension Parish.


A closing day checklist for home sellers, Days before the closing of your home when you are selling, there are somethings to remember. Kristina Smallhorn, Your Real Estate Whisperer for Ascension Parish tells you some commonly missed items that sellers should be aware of before closing day.

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Kristina Smallhorn
Your Real Estate Whisperer
eXp Realty LLC
2900 Westfork Dr. Suite 401
Baton Rouge LA 70817
Office (225) 412-9982 ext# 149

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

Your Ascension Parish Home Need De-Cluttering?


Five Way’s To Help Un-Clutter Your Home To Get It Sold In Ascension Parish.

Most of my home sales are right here in Ascension Parish. I’ve been through many over the years, and some stand out to me. Perhaps if the sellers had known these secrets prior to listing their home, they wouldn’t have made these mistakes. I believe some realtors are afraid of offending the homeowner… that their lovely blood red kitchen that is pleasing to them is not necessarily the case for buyers. When I list homes I give the sellers pointers to help their home show in the best light to potential buyers. Most take my advice, but some are still dead set on leaving their winning game heads in the living room. Here’s a short list to look over that will help you decide what’s “right” and what’s “wrong.”

1. Do

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De-Clutter the home. What do I mean by “de-clutter?” It means remove almost half of your personal items; things like pictures, urns of family ashes, the collections of beanie babies on the mantle, and yes, the prize-winning trophy deer head over the fireplace. I know you love it but a lot of buyers can’t see past all this stuff. They want to see a home that they could live in. If you removed half your items, the space looks larger and is easier for buyers to imagine themselves in your home.

2. Don’t


Ignore Odors (the nose knows everything) You may not smell a pet odor but buyers do. Trying to cover up smells with candles and plugins doesn’t mask the smell. It just smells like the “bad” smell mixed with flowers. It doesn’t fool anyone, especially potential buyers. Please keep your litter boxes clean if you have cats. Buyers will smell that first if you don’t keep those up.

3. Don’t

Fill your garage with all the boxes you just decluttered the house with. This is a time you may want to invest in getting a POD or storage unit. Garages here in Ascension Parish have become a big selling point for men since they are looking for spaces to make a “man cave”. 4. Do Have your carpets cleaned prior to listing your home by a professional carpet cleaning company. I have seen it more often than not… carpets that look terrible with dark gray spots and wear and tear over the traffic areas send a giant RED flag to buyers that they need new flooring before they have even made an offer. This, in turn, will bring lower offers to sellers. If the sellers just had a good carpet cleaning company come out prior to listing, they could bring the dull carpets back to life. I have even seen the professional carpet cleaning companies get dried nail polish out of the light beige carpet. (If you need the name and number of a few carpet cleaning companies that can help, don’t hesitate to call me.)

4. Do

Have your carpets cleaned prior to listing your home by a professional carpet cleaning company. I have seen it more often than not… carpets that look terrible with dark gray spots and wear and tear over the traffic areas send a giant RED flag to buyers that they need new flooring before they have even made an offer. This, in turn, will bring lower offers to sellers. If the sellers just had a good carpet cleaning company come out prior to listing, they could bring the dull carpets back to life. I have even seen the professional carpet cleaning companies get dried nail polish out of the light beige carpet. (If you need the name and number of a few carpet cleaning companies that can help, don’t hesitate to call me.)


Forget about the flowerbeds and fresh cut grass. Buyer’s first impression of a home is when they pull in the driveway. This is the time to pull weeds, add new mulch and plant fall flowers. To read about fall flowerbeds click here . Paint the mailbox (I actually had a lady comment how nice the freshly painted mailbox looked as compared to the rest of the weathered ones down the street.) It’s these fine details that make an impression with buyers!It’s important to show that you have taken care of and maintained the home with pride. There are many ways to show your home in the best light. The above are just a few. If you would like to know more please reach out to me. Why? “Because YOU Matter”

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


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 cover EXP

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

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

Checklist: What you need your first night in your new home.

The first night in a new home is super exciting but also hectic. We tend to forget about the little things when the boxes start arriving that we will need. Here is a checklist of items that you should have with you as soon as you get the keys to your new home.

The Must Haves


  1. Toilet paper
  2. hand soap
  3. toothpaste
  4. tooth brushes
  5. bedding
  6. clean towels
  7. clean clothes for the next day (just in case you can’t find your clothing boxes)

For the Kidsgrandstand-330930_1920

  1. A full complete diaper bag
  2. Sleep wear and a change of clothes
  3. soft blankets and or sleeping bag
  4. night-light
  5. small amount of toys
  6. coloring books and crayons
  7. DVD portable for watching movies



  1. Crackers and chip’s
  2. Plastic utensils
  3. Paper towels and napkins
  4. Take out menu’s of local restaurants
  5. Granola bars and breakfast type foods
  6. A cooler full of ice
  7. COFFEE Maker and all the items to make that magical brew. (coffee cups)
  8. Any pet food, pet beds and chew toy for your fur babies
  9. Bottled water

Thing’s you didn’t think of.tool-384740_1920

  1. Hammer and picture nails
  2. Trash bags
  3. Kitchen scissors
  4. Screwdrivers
  5. Flash light
  6. Chargers for all your devices you carry
  7. Pen and paper
  8. Sharpie markers (keep them from the kids, lol)
  9. Checkbook
  10. Important documents like birth certificates and social security cards.

These are just a few main things that I always carry with me when I move. Hopefully this will help from not having to run out as soon as you walk into you new home. Congratulations! It’s now time to celebrate.

Because YOU matter



Do I really need to "Stage" my home in Ascension Parish?


Several years back when I moved to Ascension Parish I was shocked to see many model homes listed that didn’t even have a stitch of furniture in them. Very few were staged, and the ones that had little furniture in them only had it in the living room. Where I moved from it was unheard of to show a newly constructed home without having it “staged”. When I asked the builders why they didn’t stage their homes the answer was always the same – “We don’t need that here. The homes sell themselves.” Jump ahead 2 years when the market had fallen and you would be hard pressed to not see a home designed with the best furnishings and beautiful drapes. Builders here became wiser to the power of a wonderfully staged home. Currently in our market even the smaller newer homes are staged. The main reason – it sells homes faster…
not just new homes, existing homes as well.

What is staging?

Wikipedia defines Home Staging as the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. People usually use arts, painting, accessories, lights, greenery and carpet to stage the home, to give potential buyers a more attractive first impression of the property.
Do I have to hire a professional?

I recommend you do, but there are some simple ways you can get your home “show” ready if you do not have the budget to hire a professional stager.

  • Paint colors – A neutral fresh painted home always wins in the home selling wars. You may love your maroon accent walled kitchen with dark tan interior. Buyers see a home that needs an update. Nothing gets a buyers nose up in the air then the idea of having to paint as soon as they move in. You may be saying to yourself “the buyers can paint it any color they want,” but in the long run that may keeping your home on the market longer thus costing you more money with a possible reduced offer.


  • Time to clean – I mean you clean like you never had before. Wipe down walls, wipe down baseboards, clean ceiling fans, clean on the top of cabinets, clean out your refrigerator (yes, buyer’s look in your refrigerator), clean under beds, couches, and tables. Wash drapes, and have your carpets professionally cleaned. Professional carpet cleaning companies do a much better job than the shampooer you bought for yourself at Christmas, I promise.clean-571679__340
  • Organize – remember people open closets. If its stuffed to the max with a ton a stuff it makes your home appear that there isn’t enough storage. Buyers want to see a home that looks the way it does in a magazine. If you have shoes thrown all over the place with sheets hanging off the edge of the shelves it’s going to turn off buyers.


  • De-clutter – People laugh at me when I tell them this, but I’m dead serious, Remove half of your stuff. When a room has numerous things in it buyers can’t envision their items in it. Less is truly more when selling a home.


  • De-personalize – Any photos of your children graduating kindergarten, wedding photos, that handprint in clay of your first born, and the dog collar of your first deceased pet must be removed. Those items mean a lot to you but to buyers it’s distracting.


  • Wood Floors – Many homes have wood flooring, some being engineered wood flooring. With real wood flooring you can have them sanded to remove scratches and then stained with a fresh coat of veneer to bring them to almost new. With engineered wood flooring you don’t really have that option but you can have a polyurethane coating put on to bring back shine and disguise scratches. It’s a quick fix to a problem but does last making the flooring look much better.wood-floors


  • Light it up– Put in bulbs at the highest wattage your light fixtures can handle. Many stagers do this to make your home appear light and airy.


  • Bathrooms– Make it feel like a spa, remove shampoo bottles and replace them with matching pump bottles. Put out decorative soaps. Buy fluffy white towels that make you want to take a bath and wrap yourself up in them. This always dresses up a bathroom.bathroom-1622403_1280


  • The Backyard– Now is the time to invest in new seat cushions and outdoor throw pillows, make the space feel like a living space outside as an extension to your home. Clean any patio furniture if its weathered or mildewed. Add candles to the outdoor table in various sizes. Possible hanging an overhead candle chandelier if the space permits. Make it look as if you could eat an amazing dinner out there sipping on your favorite wine.

The nose knows everything.

I’ve said it several times, and I’ll say it again, you may not smell your pet but buyer’s do. Make sure litter boxes are cleaned, and clean them out often. Pick up all your dog’s droppings in the backyard. In the heat of the summer buyers can smell those sun bathed piles. Put in fresh smelling plugins – ones that are not too strong like fresh linen or cotton fresh scents.

I know that some of you won’t be able to go with a professional stager, so hopefully these tips will help you home stage yourself. I will be happy to help you prepare your home when listing. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

“Because YOU matter”