New homes for the new year

By By Rita LeBleu / American Press

There were almost 400 new and existing homes sold in the past 90 days in the Lake Charles area, based on information from

the Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

According to Pat Diamond, ReMax Realty broker/owner, events such as a job transfer, divorce, marriage, downsizing and upsizing

are the reasons behind such moves.

Two of these new home owners, Raywood Joubert Jr. and John George, were finishing up their paperwork as 2013 was winding down

and will start fresh in a new home in 2014.

Raywood Joubert, a 21-year-old lab

technician, admits that he is a traditionalist and a planner. Once he

realized that he

had met the love of his life, Cheyenne Guillory, the couple began

their search for the perfect home. In December, he proposed.

She accepted.

He also made his first offer on the home that he’ll have ready for the couple when they wed in June. The seller wasn’t as

quick to say “I do” as Guillory, but after 2 1/2 weeks he accepted Joubert’s offer.

This is Joubert’s first real estate

transaction. He started the process with a good credit score. He had

been working at his

job for a couple of years and he said that with the economy in

Southwest Louisiana about to pick up, he thought that now was

the time to make a move. He wanted to find the perfect home while

market selection and price were still working in his favor.

It was his fiancée, Cheyenne Guillory, who first contacted real estate Agent Twila McFarland, Ingle Safari Realty, with a

question about one of McFarland’s listings.

Joubert and Guillory wanted a home in

the $100,000 price range with at least two bedrooms, a starter home with

a nice-sized

yard in a good neighborhood. They were interested in a home they

could update and re-sell when the couple is ready to build

on the south side of town in a few years.

“Over about four months we looked at 12 homes and (McFarland) never rushed us. She also stayed in contact and responded right

away when we asked to see a home,” Joubert said. When asked about the typical number of homes viewed before a purchase is

made, McFarland, who finished her year in the top 20 out of almost 400 agents, said, “I showed one of my clients 30 homes

before she found the one she wanted.”

It was important to both Joubert and Guillory that both were 100 percent sold on the rightness of the property to be their

starter home.

“We kept looking and we would usually like something about a home we viewed but it wouldn’t meet all our expectations,” Guillory

said. “For instance, it would have a big yard but the home would be too small. All the places were nice but none were the

‘it’ home.”

Then they found it. The “it home” is on

11th Street, and is a little larger than the coupled expected, 1,880

square feet,

a bonus. Other bonuses are two lots that include a huge, private

backyard, quiet, yet friendly, neighbors and the proximity

to their jobs. “Since the home is in the middle of town, it will

take us about five minutes to get to work,” Joubert said.

Other things that sold the couple on the home are the large windows that let in lots of light, the neutral carpet and the

white walls. Joubert’s plans for updating the home include interior paint and the white walls will make that easier.

Another couple to begin 2014 in a new

home is John and Donna George. They’ve moved five times in 22 years.

That’s because

his job as project manager with Sasol means moving to where the

projects are. But “all roads lead to Lake Charles” he said,

after living in Baltimore, Md. and Katy, Texas. He’s originally

from Oklahoma and met Donna Sittig George, a native of Moss

Bluff, when he was recruited right out of college to work as a

project manager for Vista (now Sasol).

This latest move has the couple downsizing, with only one daughter left at home. They chose Moss Bluff because they have family

there and their youngest daughter began school there.

They had their minds set on Moss Bluff, and looked to Myrtis Mueller Realty.

Sheila Peterson, long-time Myrtis Mueller Realty Broker, who has assisted George with the buying and selling of their other

properties, said that while most people think of Myrtis Mueller Realty as a Moss Bluff real estate company, they have been

serving all of Southwest Louisiana for the past 27 years.

Peterson was with Myrtis Mueller Realty from the beginning, moved out of state for a brief period and has been back now for

the past 15 years.

George let Peterson know that he was

interested in getting a fairly new home. He also wanted a one-story

place this time around.

The father of three girls, he and his wife had a rule — boys don’t

go upstairs — so the large game room in the George’s Katy,

Texas, home wasn’t used much.

He’s noticed that people just seem to congregate around the family’s kitchen and dining area mostly anyway. He also requested

a fairly updated kitchen and a large lot.

He ended up with a 2,600-square-foot,

5-year-old home. “It’s planted with citrus and fig trees, pepper plants

and adjoins

a woody marsh area,” George said. “We have an outdoor kitchen with

a fine patio.” Added acreage, the patio and the high-end

Pro-Tech Audio system were unexpected perks.

“We didn’t buy this with the intention of it being our retirement home,” he said. “But now we’re thinking that maybe it could

be.”

George did negotiate the price of the home.

Since he’s a seasoned buyer/seller, he suggests other home buyers should have a fairly firm price range and to make a list

of “must-haves” and “wish-to-haves.” “A new home isn’t going to be exactly as you wish,” he said.

His agent, Peterson, suggests taking time to look at everything available in your area and price range.

December 2013 marked much change for the George family. They celebrated one daughter’s wedding, welcomed a new grandchild,

observed the holidays, and are ending the year by honoring John’s 49th. Plus, they’re still unpacking boxes.

Here are their tips for easing moving

stress: Get beds set up. (Everyone does better after a good night’s

rest.) Focus on

getting children integrated into the new home and community. Make

the kitchen functional and sit down as a family for a meal.

“We spent 2 1/2 months in a motel, believe me, we were looking forward to that first home-cooked meal,” George said.