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Thoughts For Home Buyers When Choosing a Home

by Pat Wattam



Now that you are ready to buy a home, you want to make sure it’s the perfect fit for you. The home you choose should fit your lifestyle and have features that appeal to you and your family.


There are several things to keep in mind when viewing the interior of the house. Do the floor plan, storage space, appliances, and quantity of bathrooms meet your needs? You should visualize your furniture in the home to get an impression of whether or not it will work. When viewing the exterior, you want to make sure the yard is big enough to meet your needs. Imagine coming home after a long day at work. Does this home give you that “special feeling?”

Overall Condition

Be sure to ask questions about the plumbing, electrical, foundation, and the roof. You should also inquire about insulation on the walls and attic and if systems and appliances have been replaced. You want to buy a home that is in good condition so that you are not putting all your money into fixing it up. The price reduction on a “fixer upper” may not seem like much of a discount after putting the money and work you have to put into making the house livable.


It’s good to know if the Market has gone up or down since the seller bought the home. You then can compare it with what it is worth in today’s market. Finding what the other homes in the neighborhood have sold for and comparing those prices is the best way to find the value. The bank’s appraiser will generate the value based on these comparables.


If you are in a flood zone, you may have to pay flood insurance. FEMA has flood maps online to view for free. You may also want to check with the parish. Have your Realtor check the property disclosure document for clarification.


If you have children, you will want to do research on the local schools before thinking about buying a home. You can check the school district website for more information.


When choosing your home, you should anticipate your future needs and wants. Do you have enough room now and will you have enough room in the future? Will the home meet your needs as your lifestyle changes? 


Having a trustworthy, reliable, driven Realtor, is essential to making your home buying experience smooth. You need a Realtor who you can work closely with and is willing to go above and beyond to find you the house of your dreams.

Exciting news in the online version of the Business Report this morning. 

The foreclosure rate in Greater Baton Rouge barely budged in November compared to the month previous, ebbing to 2.09% from 2.12% in October, according to a report released this morning by CoreLogic. However, the new figure is just good enough to best a recent historical low of 2.1%, set in January 2010. The last time the local foreclosure rate was below 2% was December 2009, when it was at 1.98%. The highest the rate has climbed since then was 2.82% in February 2011. For historical comparison, the Baton Rouge area foreclosure rate was 1.28% in January 2009, 2.1% in January 2010, 2.81% in January 2011, and 2.48% in January 2012. Meanwhile, the Capital Region's mortgage delinquency rate—that is, the percentage of home loans three months or more past due—was at 5.29% in November. That figure was unchanged from the month previous but down from 5.76% in November 2011.

I have always felt that our Market has weathered the downturn pretty well and even though people kept telling me we had a lot more foreclosures ready to hit the market, I just did not see it.  The Baton Rouge real estate market, and surrounding areas, have just been getting better and better.  In fact, in November 2011 we saw that the turnaround had been made.  2012 was the best year ever for the Pat Wattam Team, exceeding our sales in the Katrina years!!!

It's a great time to buy or sell!!  Call us today!  298-6900


Landscaping Tips To Help Sell Your Home

by Pat Wattam


Having curb appeal can either improve or diminish the chances of selling your home. That’s why the first impression of a home is essential in getting a potential home buyer's attention. Your landscaping can be the advertisement that gets the buyer in your door. If the buyer likes the outside of the home, they will be more inclined to see the inside. Did you know that having a well maintained landscape can add up to 10% to the value of your home. I hope these tips will be of use to you.

YOUR LAWN Cleaning up the lawn should be the first thing you do when working with your landscaping. Why? Grass takes the longest time to perfect or improve. Healthy green grass is the first thing that will attract a potential home buyer. If your landscape isn't maintained, it may drastically alter their opinion. They may even think they the inside of your home matches the outside. You also want to make sure you keep leaves and debris picked up and just keep the appearance clean in general. If you have brown patches, rake it and seed it until you have the desired effect. If your yard is in really bad shape, you may want to consider hiring a landscaping professional.

TRIMMING An easy way to clean up your landscaping is to trim any trees, bushes, or shrubs you may have. This can be very important in making the architecture of your home a high point. It will also keep your plants healthier.

COLOR Having color will help attract attention and help sell your home. Colorful flowers will do the trick. You might want to consider adding mulch to your garden beds. This is an easy and rather inexpensive way to brighten up your landscape. It also can be added very quickly in case you have a home showing coming up.

DECORATION Decorating the entrance is another way to brighten up your home. Place a welcome mat out or add a wreath to your front door. You want the buyers to feel as if they are already at home!

I hope these tips will be of use to you when selling your home.






The Pat Wattam Team Seller Book

by Pat Wattam

How to Get YOUR Offer Accepted on Your New Home

by Pat Wattam

When writing an offer, especially in a Market that is changing from a buyer's market to a seller's market, there are a few essential items you need to beat out your competition - or get the seller to want you to buy their house!  Here are tip from the Pat Wattam Team:

1.  No Contingency on the sale of Real Estate.  It is safe to have a contingency upon the closing of real estate, but if you haven't even gotten an offer on your house, then you aren't even in the game.  In fact, if your house is under contract and you have passed the inspection period, even better!  It's scary for a seller to even take this contingency unless you have asked YOUR buyer to have their lender provide you with proof that their credit score, debt to income ratio, and cash available for closing are all acceptable for the loan they have applied for.  Think in terms of how the seller will look at what you are offering and try to take away their fears.

2.  Have a Pre-Approval - not a Pre-Qualfication.  Meet with the lender, have them pull your credit score and run you through desk top under writing.  Bring in you filed tax returns, bank accounts, etc. so the lender can verify your qualifications.  If you have any issues, work with the lender to get all of that settled BEFORE you write the offer.  Makes you a stronger buyer.

3.  Put up a substantial deposit - not just $500.  Although the deposit is just that, a deposit, it shows the seller that you have cash.

4.  Be flexible on the move in date after closing.  Give the seller the time they need to move out after you close so that they can confidently move forward.  With lender rules continually changing, a seller doesn't really know until he receives his proceeds from the sale the the house is truly sold!

5.  If you love the house and it's really HOT, add an escalation clause in your contract.  We can help you with that.

The first step in writing an offer is finding the right house - and if you want to be even more knowledgeable, make an appointment to meet with one of members of the Pat Wattam Team for a Buyer counseling interview.  We will go over the criteria you are looking for in your new home, get you started with your pre-approval, and give you a Home Buyer's Handbook.  Give us a call today!  225-298-6900


Baton Rouge Daily News

by Pat Wattam

Galitoire's Bistro Opens!

by Pat Wattam

We are all so excited to have Galatoire's Bistro open again in Baton Rouge at it's new location at 3535 Perkins Road!  I remember when we first moved to Baton Rouge, eating at Galatoire's in New Orleans - standing in line - no reservations - what such an exciting thing!  The food was always amazing.   If you are looking for something to do today in Baton Rouge, check it out!  You will be happy you did!!

End of Year Statistics 2012

by Pat Wattam

The Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market really picked up steam in 2012!  We saw it coming at the end of 2011 and now I have some statistics to share with you.  I hope you will find this information useful and interesting.  

First let's compare our entire MLS from 2012 back to 2011


2012 /2011  Statistics for Entire MLS
  #homes currently for sale #Homes Sold Ave List $

Ave Sales $

Days on Market


2012 3682 7607 $198,720 $192,583 99 97%
2011   6604 $196,801 $190,183 103 97%

                                                           As you can see, the market as a whole definitely improved.  Although the average sales price only went up slightly, there was a significant amount more homes sold in 2012.


Let's take a look a the 3 main parishes The Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First sells the majority of houses.  The last column is the one to watch!  

East Baton Rouge Parish (EBR), Ascension Parish (ASC), and Livingston Parish (LIV)


Parish/Yr # Home currently for sale # Homes Closed Ave Sales $ Ave Days on Market List/Sales% Months Inventory
EBR2012 2087 4183 $201,626 96 97% 7.25
EBR 2011   3610 $200,757 103 96% 9.11
ASC 2012 518 1442 $202,174 97 98% 5.21
ASC 2011   1293 $200,401 95 98% 7.24
LIV 2012 609 1263 $153,052 101 97% 7.27
LIV 2011   1111 $152,678 105 97% 9.06

Did you you noticed what I did?  That the months supply of inventory has gone down by about 2 months in each parish.  In fact, last summer there was only about a 3 month or so supply of homes for sale in Ascension Parish and under 5 months in May and June for EBR.  What does this mean?  Well first, as the number of available properties for sale diminishes, at some point, it will put pressure on the prices of houses to go up.  The Baton Rouge Real Estate market has traditionally been a very stable market with not a lot of price increases per year - which is why we did not have the 'real estate bubble' - except for the Katrina years of 2006-2007.  BUT, if the months of inventory remains low, then BUYERS have to be careful not to make low offers on property or it will get snatched away by another buyer with a better offer!  You may not have time to make two or three counters on the good houses!  For SELLERS this means that if you have your house in TOP condition - which includes updating (no one want to change out your old wall paper, appliances, and flooring - and make sure your home has neutral colors) and priced well and you'll get close to your asking price - and might just be a invitation for multiple offers!

2013 appears to be a really great year again for both buyers and sellers.  Mortgage interest rates are to remain low so that sellers can make that move up to a larger house and still have a good payment - and it's still easy for first time buyers to get in the game.  If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask one of us here at the Pat Wattam Team!   We're here for you!



Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




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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