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Reasons to Buy Before 2014

by Pat Wattam

#1 Interest Rates are still low, but they will rise again

Unfortunately, with interest rates as good as they are, they have only once place to go. UP. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan is 4.5%. While this is a 1.15 percent increase from the historic low of 3.35 percent at the end of 2012, taking the next step to buying a house before the end of the year will save you money in the long run. Take advantage of the rates while they are still as slow as they are.

#2 Homes are still affordable, but prices are rising

Home prices are relatively low. Housing price trends vary significantly by location and even by neighborhood, but the average housing price trends across the country look promising for prospective homebuyers. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas increased only 1 percent this past season, so 2013 could still be a great time to buy.

#3 Still cheaper to buy than rent

If you live in a metropolitan area, it may make more financial sense to buy a home than rent a house, condo or apartment. According to a 2012 Trulia Trends study, buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

#4 Could be easier to get a mortgage

Credit unions and banks may be making it easier for some prospective buyers to qualify for a mortgage. Less stringent requirements and qualifying criteria may help some people finally get that home loan. If you have good credit and some savings available for a down payment, you might just be able to get a loan for your dream home this year.

#5 Think to the future

Buying a home gives you a chance to start building equity, and you are investing in your future. Even if you end up selling your home in five or 10 years, you could profit from the sale and invest that money elsewhere. If you've been dealing with rising rent or the hassles of costly moves for the past few years, settling in to a home can stabilize your housing expenses – especially if you get a fixed-rate loan at a great rate. You won't have to worry about your monthly housing expenses changing significantly for a few years, and you will pay for something that has more value than a rental property. Consider the benefits of making this type of contribution to your future month after month.

Places to Eat in The Hip Zip - 70808

by Bill Arey

Baton Rouge has no lack of great places to eat out. The Hip Zip (70808) in particular can boast of some of Baton Rouge's favorite restaurants. There is a stretch of Perkins Road, known as The Overpass District, that has an amazing concentration of eating establishments - in fact I counted 34 places offering just about any type of food one could want. From the high end of fine dining at Juban's and Galatoires, to great casual dining at Zeeland Street Market  and Georges - there is something for everyone. Here is the entire list...........................................

Red Zeppelin (pizza), Truly Free (bakery), The Bulldog (pub fare and specialty beers), Thai Kitchen (Thai), Romacellis (Italian Bistro), CC's Coffee (coffee and bakery items), Juban's (fine Cajun cuisine), BurgerSmith (hamburgers), Outback Steakhouse (Australian steak and seafood), Coyote Blues (Mexican), T J Ribs (ribs and barbque), Mestizo (latin), Galatoires (classic New Orleans cuisine), Acme Oyster House (seafood), Parrains (seafood), Magpie Cafe (organic cafe), Frankie's Dawg House (hot dogs), Zippy's (Mexican), Street Bread (specialty sandwiches), Shlitz and Giigles (pizza), Rock N Sake (sushi), Bosoc's Yogurt (frozen yogurt), Jimmy Johns (sandwiches), Pinetta's (Euopean cuisine), Ivars Sports Bar (bar food), Georges (hamburgers), Rama (Thai), DiGulio Brothers (Italian), Duvics (American), Chelsea's (south LA), Zeeland Street Market (sophisticated comfort food), Garden District Coffee (coffee and bakery items), Yvette Marie Cafe (bistro fare), The Salad Shoppe (specialty salads).

Bill Arey,  The Pat Wattam Team and lifelong resident of The Hip Zip

Baton Rouge City Parish Contacts

by Pat Wattam

I just received this list in my SE BR news and thought I should post it here so that it's easy for everyone to find when you need it!  Area Code for all is 225:

Animal Control Center    774-7700

Arts & Humanities  344-8558

Assessor's Office  389-3920

Baton Rouge Food Bank  359-9940

Capital Area Transit System  389-8920

Citizens Service '311'   311 or 389-3090

City Court  389-3017

Clerk of Court  389-3950

Convention & Visitors Bureau  383-1825

Coroner  389-3047

District Attorney  389-3400

District Court  389-4700

Dixie Electric (DEMCO)  261-1177

Department of Public Works  389-2070 (after hours and weekends  389-2070)

Entergy  800-ENTERGY

Garbage Info  311

Library Information Services  231-3750

Mayor-President Kip Holden  389-3100

Mosquito and Rodent Abatement  356-3297

Parish Attorney  389-3114

Recreation & Parks (BREC)  272-9200

Registrar of Voters  389-3940

School Board  922-5400

Sewer Bill Inquiries  389-5378

State Senator Hotline  342-2040

Traffic Engineering  389-3246

Baton Rouge Water Works  928-1000

Of course, for EMERGENCIES call 911

 

Why Get a Home Inspected Before Putting It On the Market?

by Pat Wattam

One of the anxiety highpoints during the sale of a home is waiting for the buyer’s home inspection report.  Most sellers willingly disclose what they know about their home to any potential buyers.  The concern stems from the inspector finding something that they’re totally unaware of and that it will either cost them a lot of money to correct or the buyer will simply use it to void the contract.

If the inspection does reveal some unknown problem with the home, it’s probably as big a surprise to the buyer who is not as emotionally or financially invested as the seller.  It is human nature to fear what you don’t understand and when a report identifies defects, they may simply opt-out of the home.

The solution to the situation may be for the seller to have the home inspected prior to putting it on the Market.  There is still a risk of becoming surprised by an unknown defect which at that point, would have to be disclosed to potential buyers or repaired by the seller.  The advantage is that it creates a baseline to compare discrepancies that may arise when a future buyer has the home inspected.

If the seller’s inspection report is made available during the marketing process, it could give buyers a sense of confidence about the home even though they may still choose to have the home checked by their own inspector.

The cost of the inspection, around $400, keeps some sellers from taking this initiative when selling their home.  In an effort to minimize their expenses, they forego getting valuable, disinterested 3rd party advice that could help sell their home.  On a $175,000 home, the fee for the inspection will probably be less than 3/10 of one percent of the sales price.

Another option to the seller to increase marketability of the property and bolster buyer confidence in the home would be to offer a home protection plan.  Generally, the seller doesn’t incur cost for this coverage until the home is sold and there may even be some coverage for the seller during the listing period.  The benefit to the buyer is avoiding unanticipated expenses for specific items that are covered during their first year of ownership.

Contact me for recommendations of home inspectors or home protection plans.  225-298-6900

PREPARING Your House to SELL Room by Room!

by Pat Wattam

Here are some quick tips on preparing your home to sell:

1.  Make sure the doorbell works

2.  Brighten up the entryway/foyer

3.  Clean the house from top to bottom!

4.  Removed peeled or torn wallpaper and borders

5.   Kitchen:  remove items you normally store on the counter

6.  Living Room:  Open Drapes and blinds to bring in light

7.  Bathrooms must sparkle.  Try a fresh new shower curtain!

8.  Bedrooms:  New bedspreads or quilts - not the one that's 10 years old - it looks dated!

9.  Office:  Remove big, bulky filing cabinets

10.  Laundry:  Clean and polish the washer and dryer - make them shiny!

Want a copy of my 101 Quick and Easy Tips to Make Your House Show Like a Model Home?  Email your request to [email protected] for your copy!

Ready to sell your house?  Call me today for a consultation.  225-978-6688

Stay Up To Date on All Things Real Estate at Facebook.com/BatonRougeHomes

Want to Sell Your House in 30 Days?

by Pat Wattam

As an agent who has been in business for 30 years and have listed and sold over 1000 homes, I thought I would share some tips that make some homes sell in 30 days or less!  And why is that important?  People who sell their home in 30 days or less are the ones who actually get TOP DOLLAR for their home.

1.  Be committed to Selling.   Don't 'test' the Market, or think "We aren't in a hurry", or my favorite "We're not going to GIVE it away", oh, or "If it's meant to be..it will sell!"   These responses are not from sellers who want to sell their home in 30 days.

2.  Be willing to PRICE the home AT market value.  If you are priced under market, and your house is in demand by the public, then multiple offers will drive the price up.  If you are priced at market value and still have to negotiate, you weren't really at market value.

3.  DO NOT have ANY obstacles or handicaps to showing the house, which means you must have a sign and a lockbox, let the neighbors know the house is for sale,  vacate the house for showings, make the house available to be shown at any time, and definitely do not require 24 hour notice, 

4. Be willing to STAGE the house.  People love model homes because they present an idealized vision of what it would be like to live in this house.  Making minor cosmetic improvements can make a house show in it's best light.

5.  Help me find your buyer.  Take flyers to all the places you go that has a bulletin board!  Put on social networks.  Let all your friends know!

Homes that are in the BEST condition, priced right, and readily available will quickly attract those buyers who have been looking for a house and have been unsuccessful.  When your house hits the market, these buyers are READY to buy NOW - and if your house fits the bill, then, BOOM, SOLD in 30 days!!!

Check out my FREE reports for more information on getting your home ready to sell!

Call me today to evaluate your home's 30 day "saleability"!  

225-298-6900 Direct line!

 

Prepare for Hurricane Season

by The Pat Wattam Team

It's been hurricane season for a couple of months now, but typically, if we get one here in the Baton Rouge area, it will be in August or around Labor Day.  I have put together your shopping list.  Print it out and carry with you so that if the time comes, you have it at your finger tips

 

Some Tips to Help You Get Prepared

 

  1. Pick one person to be the single point of contact, preferably someone out of your area in case of busy phone lines in your area.
  2. Get Cash
  3. Fill up the gas tank
  4. Get enough food and water for 3 - 7 days for each family member
  5. Evacuate when told to do so.
  6. Plan ahead for the evacuation – hotels book up quickly so have a plan
  7. If you have pets, make sure you have a plan that includes them
  8. Fill all the family medications
  9. Batteries, batteries, batteries!!
  10. Charge up all your computers, extra batteries, phones, etc.
  11. Get gas for your generator (remember, not high octane gas!)
  12. Make sure your flash light is working
  13. Get UNSCENTED candles or, preferable, light sticks
  14.  Hand cranked flashlight
  15. Battery powered radio
  16. Take photos of your property before the storm so you have proof of it’s condition if necessary
  17. Fill containers of water in your freezer to help keep it cool longer.  Also, a full refrigerator stays cool longer than one sparsely filled. 
  18. Fill bathtubs with water in case
  19. Turn your refrigerator and freezer down as cold as possible and don’t open
  20. Turn your AC down as cold as possible before the storm.  Don’t keep going in and out. 
  21. Make sure your pet has on an identification collar
  22. Make sure you know how to turn off your water, electricity, and gas, just in case!
  23. Get First Aid supplies
  24. Take down any outside objects that could be projectiles – such as wind chimes
  25. Cut down any tree that is not healthy that could damage your house
  26. During the storm, stay in an interior room and away from windows.
  27. Don’t go outside during the storm to take videos and photos because of flying debris
  28. Battery operated cell phone charger
  29. Entertainment items – games, books, magazines
  30. Battery operated fans

 

Shopping List for Food:

  1. Water – 1 gallon a day per person (enough for 3-7 days)
  2. Food for 3-7 Days
  3. Non-perishable of canned food/juices
  4. Bread in moisture proof container
  5. Canned vegetables
  6. Raisins, and other dried fruit,
  7. Canned soups, stew, chili
  8. Dry mild
  9. Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa
  10. Unsalted nuts
  11. Powdered drink mixes
  12. Bouillon cubes
  13. Canned pet food
  14. Packaged condiments
  15. Cookies, crackers, or chips
  16. Cereal bars
  17. Baby food
  18. Peanut butter and jelly
  19. Small boxes of dried cereal
  20. Nonperishable pudding and gelatin
  21. Ice and Ice chest

Other Items:

  1. Mosquito spray
  2. Sun Screen
  3. Waterproof matches or butane lighter
  4. Light Sticks
  5. Tarps, canvas or anything to make temporary roof repairs
  6. Lantern with extra fuel
  7. Electric drill with screwdriver bits
  8. Hand tools such as hammer, nails, axe, knife, wrench, etc
  9. One flashlight or hot light per person
  10. Lots of spare batteries of all sizes
  11. Duct Tape
  12. Fire Extinguisher
  13. Clean containers to store water (fill before the storm)
  14. Manual can opener
  15. Disposable utensils and plates
  16. Paper towels and napkins
  17. Moisture towelettes
  18. Antibacterial hand moisturizer
  19. Garbage bags
  20. Propane for grill

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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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