With Money magazine naming Bossier City the best place to live in Louisiana, it’s no surprise that Bossier is a hot market to buy in right now. In fact, the Bossier City home market has been hot for quite a while. According to data provided by Realtor Frank Kelly, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ally Real Estate, single family homes in Bossier Parish spend an average of 65 days on the market. Also, with the average price of home selling in the parish at about $210,000, Bossier is a buyer’s dream.
But, before choosing your home in Bossier, there are some tips to help you through the process of buying. Three Realtors who have worked with buyers and sellers in Bossier Parish offered insider secrets for buyers to keep in mind when house hunting.
Kelly, who has worked with buyers and sellers in Bossier Parish offered these tips:
- Don’t believe everything you see on national house hunting websites. It’s been reported that Zillow’s founder sold his house for 40 percent below its Zestimate. Local agents are much more attuned to the local market than national websites.
- Invest some time to develop your search criteria, but not in 20 seconds like they do on HGTV. Sit down with your agent and write them out. If you get stuck on the search criteria, it may help to make a list of the last few places you’ve lived and write down the three things you liked most and least and why. Once you have established the criteria for your “perfect” house, don’t be afraid to look at something outside the box of your perfect criteria. Many buyers see houses that meet all their criteria, but they are not satisfied with those houses. It’s OK to change your mind and, with the help of your agent, learn things about your preferences and priorities.
Realtor Mary Beth Fisher, with Diamond Realty and Associates, also offered additional advice for homebuyers.
- Do not spend anything over $100.00 on your credit before buying a house.
- When your looking to buy a home, be realistic with your monthly budget. Make sure that you aren’t buying a home and then will be “house poor” because you can’t afford your normal quality of living.
- If you receive “gift money” for a down payment or deposit, make sure to have it in your account for three months prior to buying a home.
Carlotta Askew-Brown, a Realtor with Century 21 Elite, tapped into home buying 101 to give these tips.
- First things first, get pre-qualified by a mortgage lender. Nothing’s worse than finding a home that you love only to learn that it’s unaffordable. Getting prequalified will save a lot of time and help narrow the search range while keeping you within your intended home purchase price.
- Buyers usually have an impression of the home within the first couple of seconds of walking into it. Choose the home that speaks to you. Go with your gut and trust your instincts. If you sort of like it, it’s not for you. If you’ve looked at everything on the market, maybe now is not the time to buy. Take your time and the “perfect home” will present itself.
- Go for the home type that best fits your needs. Don’t like to share walls or spaces? Then a Condominium or townhome may not be for you. Need space? How about acres? Bossier Parish has it all. When looking for the perfect home, make sure you keep in mind the type of home that best suits the immediate needs of your family, your personality and your anticipated quality of life.
- Internet photos are handy, but to get a true idea of the area, drive through the neighborhood. Stalk the perspective area throughout the day to see if the neighborhood has people that are similar in age, homes that are well cared for and check for other factors that may be important to you such as walkability and existing traffic patterns. Remember, you not only buy the home, you also buy the neighborhood.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! Paint, flooring, fixtures and appliances can all be replaced to fit your own personal style and taste. Focus on the floor plan, room functionality and whether the home can be adapted to the changing needs of your family. Everything else can be adjusted.
But one of the most important tips Realtors agreed on is to first find the right Realtor for you.
“Don’t underestimate the importance of picking your agent carefully. Your best choice might not be a family member or an old high school buddy,” Kelly said. “Assuming all agents are ethical and know the local market, find a full-time, professional agent that will listen to you and that you can trust. Sounds cliché, but you need to know that your agent knows what you want and will advocate for your best interests at every step of the homebuying experience.”
Fisher agreed to first find a Realtor you can work with. “Interview your Realtors – a serious interview! You could choose a Realtor that is a good friend or a referral and they do not provide the service or communication styles that you like. Buying a house is a big deal so make sure your Realtor understands that and explains the process and provides the market knowledge he or she has gained over the years throughout the process to better help you understand what to expect,” she said.
Whether or not you find what you are looking for right off the bat, keep calm because Bossier Parish is still growing, and soon a lot of new homes and subdivisions popping up everywhere in North and South Bossier.