Real Estate Information Archive


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Just What is a Short Sale??

by The Pat Wattam Team

What is a Short Sale? You may have heard this term but weren’t sure exactly what it means. So what exactly is a short sale? It’s the process by which a homeowner can sell their house for less money than he or she actually owes on the mortgage(s).

The process goes like this: The Borrower provides proper documentation to his or her mortgage lender(s) to show a hardship to pay the mortgage and requests the lender take a “short” payoff on the outstanding mortgage balance. The mortgage lender (or bank) takes a loss (or write-off) on the mortgage because the value of the home has fallen below the mortgage balance and the homeowner has suffered a legitimate financial hardship that has caused the borrower to fall delinquent and is unable to continue to pay the mortgage on time.

Once the bank approves the “short” payoff on the mortgage, the home can be sold for a price near the Market value without the Seller having to come up with cash to cover the shortfall. The mortgage is satisfied and the foreclosure process stops. It is recommended that a homeowner considering a short sale consult with a CPA, attorney, and of course, a qualified real estate agent experienced in short sales.

Luckily, here in the Greater Baton Rouge Area we have not experienced many of these types of properties on the market, but we have seen enough that two team members have become Certified Distressed Properties Experts.  If you wonder if you might qualify for this type of service to get out from under your mortgage, give us a call and let us see what we can do for you.

Avoid Huge HVAC EXpense!

by The Pat Wattam Team

How to Avoid a Huge HVAC Mistake…and a Big Expense

As things heat up in the greater Baton Rouge Area, we wanted to take the chance to remind you of the importance of regularly caring for your HVAC system. We just returned from vacation with our house at 92 degrees!  It was a bad capicitor and luckily it was quickly repaired.  Things can go wrong even after you have your unit inspected, and we know here in the heat of summer, the units really take a beating so it is really important to pay attention to a few things.

Failing to properly maintain your HVAC can cost you thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, we’ve had clients confronted with HVAC nightmares due to lack of consistent maintenance. And as a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I, along with my team, understand how important it is to keep your home’s value intact…especially in today’s Market.

The good news is, while the cost to replace an HVAC system can be in the $10,000 range, simple maintenance is not costly at all. A filter is usually less than $10 and replacing it monthly keeps your air cleaner and your house less dusty.

Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as the original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer instructions for cleaning. If you're using a high-density filter such as an electrostatic filter, check with your local HVAC expert, who can raise the external static pressure of your system. If the external static pressure exceeds the design criteria of your system, it can negatively impact the performance and life of your equipment.

Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a return air grille in a wall of your home. If you cannot find the air filter, contact your local HVAC dealer for assistance.

Have your local HVAC dealer perform preventative maintenance before the start of summer and then again before winter kicks in.  I always suggest to potential sellers to have this done before putting the house on the market - it would be nice to know before you negotiate a sales price on the house if you are going to have any big expense on replacing or repairing your HVAC!!  If you haven't had yours serviced in 6 months, I would highly recommend doing it now.  Some preventative maintenance upfront can save you a big headache when your unit fails on a weekend this summer (and it seems they always fail on the hottest day!!). Many companies offer service agreements that may include reduced rates on labor and parts and provide priority response. Service/maintenance agreements may also cover:

-Cleaning indoor and outdoor coils
-Tightening electrical connections
-Checking supply voltage and operating current
-Checking refrigerant charge
-Measuring temperature differential at supply and return registers
-Cleaning blower wheel and motor
-Inspecting and adjusting the burner
-Checking heat exchangers
-Cleaning drain lines and pan
-Checking ductwork for leaks and insulation
-Checking the thermostat

Like many of us, your home is most likely your biggest investment. Simple and regular maintenance will not only preserve your home’s value but help you avoid a potential crisis and unexpected expense. For more information or for a recommendation on a local HVAC expert, please e-mail our team. Be sure to forward this  on to your fellow homeowner friends as well!

Mortgage Rates on the Rise!

by The Pat Wattam Team

Mortgage Rates Might Not Be Low for Long according to this news article.   The near-record low mortgage rates seen during the past few weeks may not be around much longer.   These low rates have been fueling the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market and a lof o us have thought the low rates would continue for the next 6 months.  However, this article dispels that thought.

Signs of improving economic conditions could lead Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke to raise key interest rates, driving up mortgage rates, says Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC.

The evidence includes more consumers are paying their bills on time. Past-due accounts at American Express declined 34 percent compared to a year ago, and Target Corp. reported its lowest delinquency rate in two years during the second quarter.

In another sign of economic improvement, fewer banks reported tightening lending standards this month, one reason consumer borrowing rose for the second time in three months.

“If lending standards start to stabilize, that’ll be another reason to remove the emergency measures, including the zero rate,” says Jay Bryson, a senior global economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C., who formerly worked at the Fed in Washington.

Source: Bloomberg

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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