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

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

Try your MAX!

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

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

Don’t Try To Figure Out A Sellers Motives.

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

A Learning Lesson.

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

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

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

Your Real Estate Whisperer

Kristina Smallhorn

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

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

Could my Ascension Parish home be making me sick? 5 things you should be aware of:


Could my Ascension Parish home be making me sick? 5 things you should be aware of:
Our home is where we lay our weary heads at the end of a day. We cook, eat, sleep, party, watch television, bathe and so forth. The truth is, we spend a lot of time there. What we don’t think about is, where we live could be making us sick. Since the Great Flood of 2016 we all have gotten a crash course in the dangers of mold and especially black mold, but their are other things that can make you sick which we forget about or just didn’t know could be an issue. I’ve comprised a small list to help so you and your home can be healthy and happy.
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If your home was built before 1978 your home has the potential of having lead paint. If your home was inherited you may not even know the paint in your home could cause a potential health risk. Children have been known to eat paint chips because they taste sweet which can cause neurological problems and growth delays. And even the dust released by these paints can be harmful to the very air your family breathes. Lead paint may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and in extreme cases, death. If you are concerned about lead paint in your home please visit the website below to get valuable information about removal and warning signs of contamination.

Many homes built before 1980 contain asbestos in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, siding, insulation (around boilers, ducts, pipes, sheeting, fireplaces), pipe cement, and joint compound used on seams between pieces of sheetrock. Some homes have insullation in the attics called vermiculite that may contain asbestos. The biggest danger for asbestos is when it becomes airborne and the fibers are released into the air. If you are unsure if there is asbestos in your home before starting any remodel or renovation project have an inspector check your property, “When in doubt check it out” , they can take samples of areas in question and even point out others you may not have thought about to make sure its asbestos free. If you do have asbestos you must have an asbestos remediation company remove the contaminated areas and state this on your property disclosure when you decide to list your home to avoid possible litigation.
Did you know that some of the newer laminate flooring has been shown to contain toxic chemicals that could possibly make you ill? I didn’t, but a few years back several companies even recalled some of their wood floorings because of the health risk. The major component being formaldehyde which can be released causing health effects such as: eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation, coughing, wheezing, and allergic reactions. Long-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals. If you are concerned about your flooring in your home visit the website below for helpful information.
Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can kill you and your pets. We all have heard the horrible stories of people forgetting about the car running in the garage, killing the whole family inside while they slept. Many of us have gas stoves in our home and ventless fireplaces. When the gas is introduced and burned it releases carbon monoxide poison into the air. Without proper ventilation this build up can be deadly! Gas companies have added an odor to natural gas so you recognize a gas leak but carbon monoxide is the odorless silent killer. A carbon monoxide detector is fairly inexpensive and some act as a fire detector as well, make sure to change the batteries in these devices every fall and spring and test them in accordance with the manufacturers instructions to be certain they operate when you need them most. They are available at most hardware and home improvement stores.

I know I said it earlier many of us have had enough of hearing about mold but as time goes by and these homes that have been flooded go on the market I strongly suggest you hire an inspector that is also a mold inspector. Some of these inspectors have cameras that can detect moisture behind the walls where there is a potential for mold growth. To read about the dangers of mold visit the website below.
These are some risks to any home that you should be aware of whether you are buying, selling or even renting. Hopefully after reading this short article your mind is already busy with questions about your home or satisfied you have taken the proper precautions to keep your family safe. Always remember to state any of these items on your property disclosure when you put your home on the market, keep all of your receipts and documents of any remediation that has been done to protect yourself and potential home buyers.
“Because YOU matter”


5 KEY things to know when buying your first home in Ascension Parish.

5 ways to get started with the home buying process in Ascension Parish (or anywhere for that matter)

When you make the decision to buy your first home it can be a daunting task. There are a million people that want to give you advice, including people who haven’t bought a home since 1976 and ones that have never bought a home in Louisiana. All states have different rules, disclosures, and addenda that are required. When getting advice, I strongly suggest interviewing a REALTOR® in your immediate area. Below are 5 tips that can help you get started before you jump on the internet to buy your dream home:


The very first thing you need to do is get your paperwork together so you can talk with a lender. I know it’s so tempting to get on a website to start looking up homes for sale, but you can certainly save yourself a lot of heartache by speaking to a lender first. Nothing crushes a new or even seasoned buyer than finding out the home of their dreams is out of financial reach.
Now that you have spoken to a lender and know what your budget will be now you can start combing the internet. There are many great websites including my own that will not only give you great information but can give you the most accurate home listings. Some of the big chain website do not update their websites often, so just because Trulia says it’s for sale, it was actually for sale over a year ago. It’s best to check with your REALTOR® on any home listing before getting your mind set on it.

You found the house, but now who do you call to show it to you. If you have a REALTOR® chosen you call them first ALWAYS! No REALTOR® is too busy to help out their clients. If they are then it’s time to shop for a new one. If you call from the number on the For Sale sign in front yard, know that the agent showing you may be the one who represents the sellers interests only. It’s best to call several offices and talk with a few REALTORS® before you find the one who matches your needs. (or you can just call me)
Now you have found your agent and the home you want, and it’s in your price range. What’s next? Now is the time for your agent to prepare an offer. They will guide you through the contract and show you what other homes in the area have sold for, so you can make an offer that will work for you and the sellers.

Let the negotiations begin- Just because you present a good offer doesn’t mean the sellers will accept your conditions the first time around. You may get a counter offer with a new price. They can change closing dates and various others stipulations. You are not fully under contract until ALL parties have signed on the dotted line, and the deposit check has been presented to the listing company’s office. So don’t drag your feet when negotiating because someone else can come in and get your dream home.

The home buying process is very exciting but can be stressful if not handled by a seasoned REALTOR®. Please take your time to pick your agent as carefully as picking your next home, It can make the experience so much more pleasant when someone truly cares about you and your needs in a home.

“Because YOU matter”