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Phishing - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Phishing has become so common that these people keep changing their tactics and it is almost impossible to tell that it is happening.  Apple recently said that it is impossible to tell if a phishing email is from them or is phishing because these companies have copied the Apple logo and it just looks real.  The only way to tell is to NOT real, do not respond to the email, phone number, etc.  and, instead, call their company instead.  This is also happening with COX and ATT I have heard.

This story happened to one of my clients just the other day.  He was on his computer and suddenly a message popped up on his screen for him to call this number immediately as his computer had been hacked.  He called the number (he thought it was Apple) and with their direction, he was able to give them remote access to his computer.  They even went so far as to send him an electronic document to sign, which he told them not to open, and right in front of his they opened it and electronically signed his name, then proceded to scan all his files to make sure he was 'protected'.  He became suspicious and called Apple.  They let him know the phone number he had called was not one of theirs and it was phishing.  His computer is now at a repair shop where they are trying to make sure his files are not infected and to get it up and running.  His big concern was that the phishers could have accessed his banking information from his computer (and they could).  

This morning on the TODAY show this very scenario was being discussed.  We are told to NOT respond to anything on line.  If it is your bank, or a company such as Apple, that allegedly contacting you, call that entity instead to verify.  Today American Express called me because a $1 charge had just popped up on my account.  They did not ask me for any sensitive information as they had access to my credit card number because they were calling me.  I still waited and called the number on the back of my credit card to verify they were trying to reach me.  My husband says you can goole those phone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses and you will quickly find out if it is the real company contacting you.

This is a cautious tale.  Please be extra careful these days.

I know this has nothing to do with selling or buying real estate but that's the kind of REALTORS you will find at the Pat Wattam Team.  We are always looking out for our clients best interests!   

Loan Pre-Approval - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Debbie Hanna

Why Should I Get Pre-Approved For A Loan?

As a home buyer, here are a few reasons you should apply for a loan and obtain approval before you begin looking at homes:

1.  You won't waste time considering homes you can't afford.

3.  You can select the best loan package and know what down payment is needed for that loan - without being under pressure.

4.  You will know in advance what your monthly payments will be

5.  Your lender will also review the approximate amount of closing costs (lender fees, title co. fees,etc.) associated with your loan.

6.  Sellers will view your offer more favorably if they know in advance your ability to secure financing.

7.  Peace of mind!

You are now on your way to purchasing your new home!  

Did you also know that there are some “upfront” fees you will encounter before you get to the closing table?  

These include payments for:

    Deposit     Appraisal    Inspection    Prepaid year of Homeowner’s Insurance

These are just a few of the things I cover with Buyers in my initial Home Buyer Consultation, in addition to a free Home Buyer Book.  One of my goals is to help educate you about the process as you purchase your new home. If you would like to learn more, give me a call!

Debbie Hanna

225-772-3662 

12 Reasons To Use a Realtor

by Blake Hanna

12 Reasons You Should Use a REALTOR

1. Determine Buying Power

2. Home Search Assistance

3. Objective Property Information

4. Price Negoatiation

5. Management of Property Evaluation

6. Identification of Qaulified Lenders and Finacing Options

7. Smooth Closing Process

8. Up-to-date Selling Information

9. Marketing Assistance

10. Connections to Selling Networks

11. Objective Evaluation of Buyer's Proposal

12. Closing Assistance


Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team

RE/MAX First

225-298-6903

[email protected]

 

*Source-fsbonightmares.com

When Will the Cookies Go Away?!

by Pat Wattam

After the holidays I always wonder, When will the cookies go away!  If you are like me, and you love cookies, it seems they stay on my thighs forever!  BUT, that's not the kind of cookies I'm talking about!  I'm talking about cookies on your computer!  

Did you know that when you shop on line from your computer that 'cookies' are created so that your computer knows where you have been shopping.  It makes it easy for you to find what you were looking at later on, and it also is why all those ads spring up for those kind of items when you are on other web sites or even Facebook!

The Definition of this kind of cookie is :


What is a Computer Cookie

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A cookie is a small data file stored on a computer for various tracking purposes by websites and advertisers. While cookies are generally not harmful to a computer the way that spyware, viruses and other malware are, some cookies do pose a privacy concern because they track your Web surfing habits. In some cases, cookies are useful because they allow you to leave a website and then return later, easily resuming your session because your password and ID are stored in the cookie.

Definition

  • A cookie is a small text file that is placed on the user's computer hard drive by a Web page server, according to Microsoft. A cookie can't be executed as code or be used to deliver a virus. A cookie is unique to the computer that it's added to, and it can only be read by the Web server that put it there. The basic function of a cookie is to allow a website or advertiser to automatically identify a user. It stores multiple website URLs in which they are valid. When your browser sends a request to a Web server, it also sends the cookies that are related to that same website.

  • Cookies an be convenient for you when you're shopping for something, but it can also be a nuisence when you have looked at an item and decided you aren't interested in it, and then it keeps popping up everywhere.

I was told today at a tech meeting that those cookies automatically go away after 60 days.  I always thought you had to delete them so this was good to know.  I hope by understanding how cookies work you might make them work FOR you!!!
The EASIEST way to shop for a home is to contact the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First and let us do the shopping for you!  Tell us what you want and we'll find it.  No cookies left on your computer either!!!  

Save Yourself Time and Money!

by Pat Wattam

There are some things our clients do that drive REALTORS a little crazy and they are the things that clients do that cost the client time and we all know that time is money! Here are a couple of  things that we find frustrating from a buyer:

1.  Not knowing where you want to live - location wise.  It is very frustrating to get a buyer who says location is no issue - "I'll look anywhere".  And your drive them up to an hour away to find the home of their dreams, only for them to then realize that they don't want to drive an hour each way, evey day to work!  Seriously!  They never even THOUGHT about that first!

 I think one of the most important discussions you can have with your REALTOR (and yourself!) is what do you want to do in your free time.  Do you like running to the movies on the weekend at the spur of a moment?  Do you like having a grocery store 5 minutes away because you are always forgetting something you need (that's me!)?  Do you have a sport you play a lot and would like to be near by?  Or, if you have children, how far do you want to drive to take them to dance, gym, music, sport practice, or even school?  There are serious questions to consider because you can not replace your time.  I had some clients who wanted to live in St Francisville.  They bought beautiful new home and pool, on a lake, with a golf course nearby - but they were driving over an hour each way to work, then on the weekends they would bring their children to Baton Rouge for their activities and would have to kill a couple of hours in town just waiting for them.  They finally decided enough was enough.  Their next house was in the heart of Baton Rouge, near all conveniences.  I have other clients who want to live on acreage and get away from it all.  When they get home for the weekend, they are home.  They enjoy working on their yard and don't mind the drive during the week so they can have the peace and quiet they require on the weekends.  SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME by figuring out what are your HOT buttons for a location and let your REALTOR help find you the best home to match!  

2.  Having TOO BROAD of a price range.  When I have clients tell me they can buy anything from $150,000 to $350,000 and want to see it all I know they haven't thought this all the way through.  I know they are thinking if they can find a real steal at $150K they want to see it.  So do I!  The question really is  - what is important in a house to them.  A TYPICAL $150K house is smaller, or older, or doesn't have as many amenities as a $350K house.  We need to know what is important to you in the house.  How large?  How many bedrooms?  How large do those bedrooms need to be?  Are you willing to buy an older house with smaller baths and kitchen or do you want an open floor plan?  Do you like nice amenities?  These are the things we need to know - then it's easy to search any price range so that you can make a decision on how much work you want to do on a house.  Just a thought.  One of the first houses we bought needed a lot of work but we got it for a great price.  We didn't factor in the $10K (this was YEARS ago!) cash that would have to come out of our savings to do those reparis.  We could have bought a house that cost $20K more or even more if it didn't need any work and had a little higerh house note and kept our cash!!  

3.  "I want to see everything available in my price range!" Really?  Why?  I once had a client that went into the attic of every home we looked at, even the ones I knew they had NO interest in.  After I while I showed them how much time they were wasting that could be spent seriously looking at the houses that they found interesting!  While you are waiting to see everything, a great house could come on the Market and be sold by the time you get around to seeing it.  If you know what are your "HAVE TO HAVE" items are in a house, and then the things you would like to have but aren't deal killers, we can save you a LOT of time by screening out the houses we know don't have those amenities!  

Give some serious thought to what you REALLY want and need in a home from size to amenities to location to price.  Then we can really do a better job to serve you by showing you the BEST HOUSES that fit your particular needs!! Give us a call!  We want to help you find that dream home!  225-298-6900

Things You Might Not Know About REALTORS

by Pat Wattam

In this day and age I am still amazed at the misconceptions the public has about REALTORS.  Let me try to shed some light!

1.  REALTORS are not paid a salary.  They are only paid when you use them to buy or sell a house that actually goes to closing!

2.  They pay for their own gas.

3.  They do not have a company car.

4.  Whatever the commission is, they only get part of it.  Part of it goes to their broker, to a relocation company, to a referral company.  And they pay all their expenses and marketing dollars out of that commission.  Oh yeah - and pay taxes.

5.  If a REALTOR buys you lunch, there is no company behind them paying for it.  It actually comes out of their pocket.

6.  If a REALTOR sells a lot of houses it isn't because they sell them for a low price - it's because they do a good job at marketing and negotiating.

7. We don't get kick backs for referring you to people we trust.

8.  We do have a LIFE and are not available at the drop of a hat - and come to think of it, neither is your doctor, CPA, dentist.  And just like other professionals, we will do our best to accommodate you.

9.  We truly want to make you happy because we want you to refer us to your friends.

10.  We have continuing education we must take every year (12 hours) and we have a Code of Ethics that we must adhere to.

So there you go - just a few things that I thought I should share with you today! And Remember, when you are thinking about real estate, Call the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First!

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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