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The residential real estate market here in Livingston Parish has cooled off a bit in recent months, but it is starting to heat up again with the weather as buyers are rushing to take advantage of the recent interest rate drop before the bond market pushes rates back up again. This is good news for home sellers who have seen the number of days on the market steadily increase along with pressure to lower prices. Home sellers have also been met with increasing buyer demands in relation to property condition, leading many owners to temporarily take their property off the market to make repairs and cosmetic upgrades. The increase in competition has lead for more demand, with well-priced and well-marketed homes going under contract in a matter of days, some with multiple offers for the seller to choose from.

All signs indicated that these factors will contribute to a very active spring with the sellers still maintaining a slight advantage because of a continued lack of inventory, even if that gap is a bit smaller than it has been in recent months. In most price points, buyers will still have a few good options to choose from, but will need to act fast to get the best deals and properties.

My number one tip for home sellers this spring is get a listing agent who will MARKET YOUR HOME PROPERLY AND GET PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS. I put that in all caps because I’ve been saying that for years, but as I look through the majority of listing photos on the MLS, it’s obvious many agents and homeowners still haven’t gotten the memo. Because of scheduling conflicts and my client’s wishes, I listed a house last month with only a front elevation picture and a few quickly shot interior photos. Twelve days on the market - nothing. We were able to resolve the scheduling conflicts, get a professional photographer in, and add the improved photos to the listing. The home was shown almost non-stop and received a full price offer in 2 days.

My number one tip for home buyers this spring is to talk to a mortgage lender and get pre-approved as early in the process as possible. Because of the need to move quickly, you will be at a big advantage if you have a preapproval letter in hand, ready to submit with your offer when you find the perfect house. If you have to start the process after you find the right house, it might now still be there when you are ready to make an offer.

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