The grass is growing, the flowers are blooming and the houses are selling. It's the busiest time of the year for buying and selling houses around the country.
"The home buying market is so brutal, some buyers are making offers sight unseen."
You might have seen a headline like this about the national real estate market. National trends don't always translate locally so KTBS talked to some experts about what's happening in our real estate market this spring.
"There are more sales in the $50,000 to $200,000 price range than we've seen in this market in the last 10 years. The activity has really picked up in the first time home buyer price range. Some of those are investors, but what we're also seeing is that the criteria to get a loan has relaxed in the last few years," said Brad Gosslee," owner/broker Coldwell Banker Gosslee.
"You are able to qualify for a home at a lower credit score than you could 4 or 5 years ago. So that certainly helps home sales as well," said Jeff Free, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Gosslee.
So Shreveport-Bossier City has a healthy real estate market, but definitely not the kind of situations you see in some of those national headlines with multiple offers and all cash deals. If there's one area in particular seeing the lion's share of growth around here, there's really no debate on where that is.
"Bossier is booming. This is the place to live. You've got, you've got location, you've got restaurants, you've got shopping ... everything is centrally located and you've got some of the best schools locally that are in this area," said Rebecca Stevens, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Gosslee.
"Obviously, if you're local you hear and see and feel the great things happening in Bossier City. But those that are relocating into our area also do a lot of homework and research and I think they see that Bossier is a great place to live. They study the schools and they study the crime rates," said Free.
"When you actually look at the $200,000 to $300,000 price point there are more homes selling in that price range in Bossier Parish than there are in Caddo Parish. And actually I went back and did a little research, that has been the case now for 6 years in a row," said Gosslee.
And there's still twice as much population in Caddo Parish.
"And in a lot of cases, I'd say most cases it's the school system that they're looking for when they're choosing Bossier over Caddo," said Gosslee.
He also says that in 2017 for the first time there were more buyers in Bossier than in Caddo in the $300,000 to $400,000 dollar range.
Many of those buyers, especially in the upper price ranges are using the web, virtual reality and 3D tours to find there new houses. According to Forbes, 95 percent of buyers use the internet to look for homes and 51 percent buy homes that they have found using the internet.
"As much as possible the industry is trying to allow a buyer to view a home in a virtual setting as much as possible. Even some of the things that we're doing now with our storybooks, trying to get video that have sound and some other things to better feel of what it's even like to stand in the front yard of a property with the wind blowing and the birds chirping," said Gosslee.
"I'm having more and more of my clients call me and say these are the houses I want to see. I'm not having to search houses in the amount I used to do when I got in the business 16 years ago," said Stevens.
If you're getting ready to sell your home this season and hoping to make a fortune, prepare to lose lots of cash in the process. A study from Zillow, a real estate website, showed that the average homeowner spends over $18,000 in additional costs associated with selling a home.
This includes closing costs, transfer taxes and the biggest cut usually coming from commissions for real estate agents. Other expenses you can expect to see at closing, including filing fees and the cost of title insurance.
When comparing real estate sales from last year to this year to see how the ArkLaTex is doing in terms of sales for Bossier and Caddo, the experts say the market is ahead of where it was in 2017 for homes in that $50,000 to $200,000 category. But it's holding steady with just about the same numbers for the higher priced homes being sold in our area.