Real Estate Information Archive


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Five Things to Know About the Expanded Tax Credit

by The Pat Wattam Team

The Expanded Tax Credit for home buyers is creating a buying frenzy around the country!  Time is of the essence for those of you who want to receive this FREE money. 

One of the requirements for becoming a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network® is to provide my community with critical real estate information so you can make the best possible decision when buying or selling a home. To that end, I wanted to pass along some key facts about the extended and expanded tax credit that are critical for you to understand in order to take advantage of this opportunity:

1.    Eligibility: The tax credit is now available for first-time home buyers and eligible current homeowners. A first-time home buyer is an individual who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. This law applies for both parties in a married couple; if you haven’t owned a home for three years, but your husband has, then neither one of you can qualify for the tax credit. A qualified current homeowner who wished to move to a different home, must have owned and resided in their residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight.

2.    Salary requirements: Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with a joint income up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit. Single taxpayers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000, and married couples who earn between $225,000 and $245,000 are eligible to receive a partial credit.

3.    Amount of credit: The maximum credit amount for first-time home buyers is $8,000; the maximum credit amount for current homeowners is $6,500. The federal tax credit amounts to 10% of the cost of the home, up to a maximum credit of $8,000 for first-time home buyers and $6,500 for current homeowners. Under the new legislation, a tax credit may only be issued for homes purchased for $800,000 or less. The tax credit is a true credit—it does not have to be repaid unless the homeowner sells or stops using the home as their principal residence within three years after the purchase.

4.    It’s refundable: The tax credit is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if you owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed. The credit is claimed using Form 5405, which you file with your original or amended tax return.

5.    Timeline: The credit is available for homes purchased on or after November 7, 2009 and before May 1, 2010. The federal income credit can be claimed on one’s individual or joint tax return for the purchase of any single-family home (newly-constructed or resale, single-family detached, townhomes or condominiums) between the dates of November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Home purchases subject to a binding sales contract signed before May 1, 2010 will also qualify for the tax credit as long as closing occurs by June 30, 2010.

Give us a call and we'll get you under contract in time for you to take advantage of the tax credit!

Baton Rouge Real Estate Statistics for 2009

by Pat Wattam, RE/MAX First

The statistics for Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate  for 2009 show that our prices have finally felt some decrease in the average sold price in the 3 main parishes the Pat Wattam Team serves (Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston).  Some interesting facts - that even though the average sales price has decreased a little and the days on Market have certainly increased, the average sales price for these 3 parishes combined are still significantly higher than the end of 2005 and are only slightly lower that 2007!!! 

The tax credit for first time home buyers helped us have a strong finish to 2009 but the start of 2010 is dramatically different, and it is strictly due to the tax credit extension and the additional tax credit for existing home owners.  I have never seen a January so busy!  We have been told that the Federal Government will NOT extend the tax credit again and for us to get that word out to our clients!!

So, let's get into the statistics for 2009.  

This Graph shows the average list price for the new Listings, the homes currently on the market, the homes pending, and finally the homes sold.

Sold Statistics for 2009 (EBR, ASC, and LIV parishes)

Ave List Price:  $197,861      Ave Sold Price $192,081    Median Price  $168,000 

Average Days on market were 94 - up 2 from last year.  This is the number to keep watching.  This should stabilize but it significantly longer than the past 5 years.

Comparison Stats:


2009     $197,861           $192,081            $168,000              94

2008     $208,438           $202,994            $171,500              92

2007     $201,342           $197,313            $167,103              69

2006     $211,550           $208,798            $193,000              41

2005     $187,685           $184,514            $152,000              32

2004     $157,173           $152,890            $133,000              44

Another interesting note is that the closed price vs listing price is still very close.  Many people think they can come to our area and get a house 20-30% off list price need to look at these numbers!  This shows that we have a very healthy and stable real estate market!!!

 If you want to keep up with the real estate prices for your home, and you are in my MLS area, sign up for the Market Snapshot.  It's an automated system that will send out a report to you once a month with properties for sale and sold within a half mile of your home.   

This graphy shows the type of loans most popular with buyers.  FHA (government backed loans with 3.5% downpayment) have become very popular again - much like they were 20-30 years ago.  Buyers are scraping togehter downpayment money but asking nearly every seller to contribute (rather, let the buyer fincance in their purchase price) money at closing to pay for the buyer's closing costs and prepaid items.

I hope you find this information useful!  If you have any specific questions, please call or email me anytime!



Tax Credit Information for Baton Rouge

by The Pat Wattam Team

David Knox, noted real estate trainer, explains the tax credit for repeat buyers, first time home buyers, and why now is the time to buy.  Check it out below:

Cold Weather for Warm-Blooded People

by The Pat Wattam Team

This past week has been a trying one in the sunny South.  Temps here in Baton Rouge plunged into the teens overnight.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  To you Minnesotans that might call for a heavy sweater, but here, that's some serious chill and maybe even some burst pipes.  Luckily we were able to get all our listing properly protected, including one vacant property on pier and beam that had exposed pipes. 

The simple solution here is to keep a trickle of water running.  Since the ground rarely freezes here that keeps +32 degree water in the pipes, so no freezing and no bursting.  It can run up the water bill though. 

If you're going to be gone during the time of a freeze and can't monitor the situation, then drain the system.  If you don't mind getting your hands a bit dirty you can shut off the water at the street meter using T-handle shutoff tool available at most home centers and hardware stores.  Just be aware that sometimes these street valves can be a "bear" to move.  If you're lucky, you will have a shutoff valve at the house connection.  No tools needed, just turn it off like a water faucet.  Then open the inside faucets and unscrew the drain plug outside.  It's just above the shutoff valve and looks like a tire valve stem cap.  If there is no drain plug or house shutoff valve, then open the outside faucets to drain and be sure to insulate the portion of the pipe bteween the ground and the faucet since it will still have water in it.

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Contact Information

Photo of Pat Wattam Real Estate
Pat Wattam
RE/MAX First, Independently Owned and Operated
4750 Sherwood Common
Baton Rouge LA 70816
Office Direct: 225-298-6900
Office Main: 225-291-1234
Fax: 225-295-1234

RE/MAX First
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
Main: 225-291-1234

Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission