Real Estate Information Archive


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Greater Baton Rogue Real Estate After Katrina

by The Pat Wattam Team

Everybody is curious about what has really happened to the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market since Katrina.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for years will remember that prior to hurricane Katrina in 2004, the average sales price for our MLS area was $144,000 with 8789 sales for the year.  The following year the average sales price had increased to $164,592 by the end of the year, with a total of 11,349 homes closed.  Now, if you go month by month it is even more interesting!  In August 2005, just before Katrina hit, there were 811 homes closed that month.  In September that number more than doubled with 1838 closings and then in October, 1374 homes closed!  It was an absolutely crazy time in real estate and it was a very difficult time for all Realtors.  It wasn't just the number of sales we were making, but it was how you had to work.  Think about this - no MLS - no phone service - you didn't know what homes had sold and what homes had come on the market.  You couldn't get from point A to point B easily.  And then you would work so hard for the client, for them to decide not to buy here but to go someplace else, or they lucked out and found a rental.  I much prefer the market we have today to what we experienced then!

The good news is that although our home prices peaked in 2008, and then we had the economic disaster which slowed home sales, our prices have only dropped to an average sales price of $193,000 YTD - which is up a little from last year.  Sure, fewer homes are being sold and there is plenty of inventory, but the fact that the days on market have only gone up about 15 days (the length of time on average it takes to sell a property) since 2004 and the fact that the average sales price is STILL significantly higher than 2004, leads me to believe that our real estate market is still healthy.

At the Pat Wattam Team, we have experienced multiple offers on properties that were well priced and in tip top condition, and the homes that meet that criteria, even though they may not have multiple offers, will generally sell in the first 30 days.  Homes that need some updating or repairs, even when priced well, tend to take a while to sell. 

Here's hoping for no more hurricanes, for our industry to continue to lead the country out of recession, and for our own market to remain stable so that all my clients can take advantage of these fabulous interest rates!!

Year  Ave Sales Price   # Sold

2004 $143,976 8,789
2005 $164,592 11,349
2006 $185,970 11,056
2007 $196,813 9,508
2008 $201,511 7,363
2009 $191,252 6,919
2010 $193,000 YTD 4,387 YTD

Improve Your Credit Score

by The Pat Wattam Team

  How Peggy Bain Helps Consumers Improve Their Credit Scores


Taking time to listen to potential clients primary requirement allows me to give them their options on loan programs that will fulfill his or her requests. This will be one of the finest investments made and as their Loan consultant, I want them to benefit not only now, but for their future also.


  1. Pay down your credit cards.  Paying off your installment loans can hel your scores, but typically not as dramatically as paying down or paying off revolving accounts such as credit cards.  lenders like to see a big gap between the amount of credit you owe and your available credit limits.  Getting your balances below 30% of the credit limit is ideal
  2. Use your cards lightly.  Big balances can hurt your scores, even if you pay your bills in full each month.
  3. Check your limits.  Your scores might be lower if your lender is showing a lower limit than you actually have.  Most credit card companies will quickly update this information if you ask.
  4. Use an old card.  The older your credit history, the better.  if you stop using your oldest cards, issuers may stop updating them at the credit bureaus and although the accounts will still appear, they won't be given as much weight in the scoring formula.
  5. Get some goodwill.  if you have been a good customer, a lender might agree to simply erase that one late payment from your history.  usually the lender requires a request in writing.  There is no guarantee that the lender will adjust your history, but it can't hurt to ask.
  6. Correct significant errors.  Your credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit report file, so errors can really cost you.  not all that's reported in your file matters to your scores.  Here are some items that's usually worth correcting with the bureaus:  late payments, charge-offs, collections or other negative items that are not yours, credit limits reported lower than they actually are, accounts listed as unpaid that were included in bankrupcy and accounts listed as derogatory if you paid htem on time and in full.  Some items that you typically shouldn't worry about are misspelling of your name, outdated or incorrect address information, most inquiries, accounts closed listed as being open and accounts closed that don't say 'closed by consumer".


Keep in Mind that asking a creditor to lower your credit limits, making a late payment, consolidating your accounts and applying for new credit if you already have plenty, can lower your credit scores.

Call Peggy Bain today to help you decide which loan product fits your needs, and to get suggestions on raising your credit score!

Peggy Bain

Senior Loan Consultant

Nationwide Home Lending

225-248-4002 Direct Line

225-335-7908  Cell

4212 American Way, Ste. C

Baton Rouge, LA  70816

Mortgage Interest Rates at All Time Low!

by The Pat Wattam Team

With mortgage interest rates at an all time low, at least since I have been in real estate, now truly is the time to buy a home, move up to your dream home, refinance your home, or buy that investment property!!   A 30 year fixed rate home mortgage is running about 4.25%.  On a $200,000 loan, that would be a principle and interest of approximately $893.88 - compare that to $1104.01 with a 5.5% rate!  That's a savings of over $100 a month!!  Or, think of it this way, you can buy a home that costs $5000 more!! 

Of course, home mortgages are credit score driven and the higher your credit score the more options you have open to you.  The 15 year interest rate is the one that got me really's at 3.75% which is terribly exciting when you think only 7 years ago the 15 year rate was 5.25%.

Not sure where to start? Give the Pat Wattam Team a call and we'll help you sort out how to take advantate of this Market.  With more homes to choose from, we know you can find something that will make you want to take advantage of this great real estate market!


by The Pat Wattam Team

Most Real Estate Professionals readily accept the benefits that a home warranty provides for a home buyer, and consistently recommend that their clients secure a home warranty when purchasing a home. However, agents may sometimes overlook the benefits of Seller's Coverage for a client who is selling a home.

While a home is on the Market, a home warranty provides repair and replacement coverage for the home's major systems and appliances, and helps avoid closing delays while providing budget protection for the seller. Having a home warranty in place also provides a competitive edge over other homes on the market, which can help homes sell faster and for a higher price. Buyers feel protected from unknown after-sale problems and are more likely to make a solid offer.

In today's market, most buyers request that the seller provide a home warranty to reduce the buyer's risk of unforeseen breakdowns after close of sale. For a minimal cost, the seller can add Seller's Coverage and receive protection from the breakdown of covered systems and appliances during the listing period. Coverage becomes effective immediately upon receipt of application and continues until the expiration of the initial listing period (up to 180 days), close of sale, or listing termination (whichever occurs first). The premium for Seller's Coverage is payable at the close of sale.

Seller's Coverage can provide essentially the same system and appliance coverage for the home seller during the listing and escrow period as the standard home warranty does for the home buyer after the close of sale. Some notable differences are:

  • Optional coverage for certain items such as swimming pool, well pump, limited roof leak repair, etc. are not available to the seller.
  • Many warranty companies have specific Seller's Coverage limits on the heating and air conditioning systems, such as a cap on the dollar amount which will be spent on the system.

Most agents and home sellers appreciate that Seller's Coverage keeps the home showing well, which can result in a faster sale. It may also lessen some of the financial burden on the seller for repairs that may result from the buyer's home inspection. In addition, when agents ensure that their client's home systems and appliances are in good working order at the close of sale, their clients are happy, and happy clients mean more referrals!


Webb Wartelle

Old Republic Home Warranty




Tips on Buying a High End Home

by The Pat Wattam Team

Top 5 Tips for Buying a Luxury Home

Despite the doom and gloom the media portrays regarding today’s real estate Market, several unique opportunities exist for home buyers, in particular, luxury or high end home buyers.

While home prices across the country have dropped or stabilized to varying degrees, according to our colleagues in the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, luxury home prices have been slashed, in many cases, as the market for such high-end properties has dwindled in challenging economic times. This presents a great opportunity, for those who have the financial resources, to purchase a luxury home that might have been completely out of their range six years ago.

Purchasing a luxury property, however, is unlike a standard home purchase. We advise all our luxury-home clients to consider the following before embarking on their search:

1. Weigh the finances carefully.
Even if you’re ready to pay cash for your luxury home, you still want to ensure you’re getting the best possible value and potential return on investment from your home purchase. Make sure you truly have the financial wherewithal to remain in the home as long as you’d like. Consider the stability and growth potential of your future income before moving forward.

2. Have your documentation in order.
Many luxury home buyers derive their net worth from a variety of sources and investments. Given the high-end purchase price of a luxury home, along with today’s unstable economic climate, prequalification is often necessary when it comes to luxury purchases.

3.Investigate alternative search methods.
The best luxury property deals might not be found through traditional real estate search engines but rather through word of mouth. Make sure you’re working with a professional real estate agent or team who is well connected and networked in the communities your are considering

4. Seeing is believing.
Expansive square footage, sprawling property, and a bevy of incredible views often make luxury homes difficult to completely capture in photos, videos or virtual tours. A visit in person is an absolute must to make sure you’re not missing any potential details and, conversely, to make sure the property lives up to its image.

5.Consider the future.
Your luxury home investment needs to be carefully considered for the future, in particular your expectations in terms of your return on investment. Most luxury home buyers are buying a lifestyle and don’t intend on flipping their home anytime soon. Given the volatility that still exists in today’s market, make sure you’re not headed into your luxury purchase with unrealistic thoughts of financial gain but rather to enjoy a spectacular home for many years to come.

We would be happy to share more insights and strategies for buying a luxury home.

Summertime Remodeling Projects!

by The Pat Wattam Team

Looking for a Summer Remodeling Project? These Tips Might Help

Other than vacations, summer is the time of the year most popular for home improvement. The long days and warm, sunny weather make a great time to work on repairs and renovations without much of the hassles and delays that rain and other elements bring.  This is one of the reasons that summertime is a perfect choice for many people to do their remodeling projects!

As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I, along with my team, have years of experience and understand how taking on a remodeling project is beneficial to you, both now and then later down the road should you choose to sell.  Why not do renovations now that you and your family can enjoy before it's time to move!  One of the things I try to stress with our clients, try to do something to your house every year so that when it is time to sell, you don't have a lot of things to do to put your house in show home condition

Following are tips and projects—both large and small—for homeowners looking to spruce their homes up this summer.

Patios and Decks
What better way to enjoy the warm days than by creating an outdoor living space for the family to enjoy.


Decks and patios are among the most popular summer remodeling ideas. There are various factors to take into consideration when deciding on whether a patio or deck is the most appropriate project to undertake. Such factors include soil condition and consistency, site terrain, use, capacity and privacy, as well as the cost and maintenance you are willing to put up with.

Home Maintenance
Throughout the seasons, your home has taken good care of you and your family and now is the best time to give back.


Go through your property to evaluate and create a checklist on areas that need mending or replacement. This list is a crucial preparation before calling a contractor or handyman for maintenance/repair services. Some common maintenance and repair include:

  • Waterproofing the basement
  • Re-caulking and replacing weather-striping
  • Cleaning and sealing wooden decks
  • Trimming bushes and trees
  • Realigning downspouts and gutters
  • Repairing the roof
  • Cleaning the pool
  • Mending the fence
  • Sealing cracks along driveways, foundation, walkways, etc.
  • Maintenance of HVAC systems

Energy-Efficient Renovation
When it comes to summer remodeling, there's no better way to invest your hard-earned dollars than by making your home energy efficient. An energy-efficient summer remodel is truly a worthwhile endeavor as it will result in years of savings on your energy bills. Some of the common items you can buy and integrate into your energy-efficient renovation include:

  • Insulation systems and materials
  • Roofs that resist heat gain
  • Biomass-burning stoves
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • HVAC systems with the highest efficiency tier
  • Solar panels
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Wind energy systems

Taking on one (or more!) of these projects is a great way to give back to your home this summer…and, in some cases, save you a bit of money, too. 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6




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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