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Traveling to Hawaii with Pat Wattam

by Pat Wattam

My clients and friends know what advid travelers Roger and I are!  In fact, lots of you contact me when you are about to take the same trip.  I have tons of Fodor Travel Guides, etc.  But what I want to post in these new blog posts are tips on different places we have been that might interest you.

Our favorite place to travel is Hawaii, specifically, Kauai!  We have been there 5 times and it never disappoints!  In fact, the first trip we took we only stayed there 4 days and I was trying to figure out what we would do there to occupy 4 days!  Now we know 10 days is barely enough because we HAVE to do all the things we already love, add new things and check out new places!!

In my mind there are two sides to the island - the north shore in the Princeville area and the south side down in Poipu.  Poipu has a lot more going on activity wise, you can walk a lot of places, and you have traffic.  If you have kids, this may be the better choice.  HOWEVER, our favorite is the quieter north shore.  We rent at Hanalae Bay Resort (get a condo - not a room) and have the best view to wake up to every day.  You are close to a grocery store, have tennis courts and multiple pools on the property, a downhill walk to the beach (and they send golf carts to take you down or bring you back up hill), and you are next door to the most expensive hotel on the island!  (We do splurge and go there for brunch and to their Luau).  The grocery store is just up the street as is a golf course, zip line, horseback riding, and shopping in Hanalei is minutes away as are restaurants and burger places.  

We love to go to Hanalei beach for sunset (usually some Hawaiian music being played by locals) and Ke'e Beach at the end of the road is our favorite beach - but we do have to stop at every beach on the way there!  Hiking the Kalalau trail starts at Ke'e Beach.  You don't have to go any farther than about 30 minutes up this trail to get the BEST view but I have made it over the mountain to the next beach.  Treacherous is all I have to say about this trail.  30 minutes up is just fine for me! 

            

Eating?  Post Cards Cafe and Ono Char Burger (burger stand) for the best hamburgers - but protect your food from the local animals - and I'm not speaking of cats but of chickens!  They are everywhere on Kauai! Ice Cream and Shaved Ice in Hanalei.  Chuch in Hanalei at the Old Hawaiian Church.  And then drive to the other side of the island for a ride up Waimea Canyon and on up to see the Napali Coast.  

             

It's fun traveling to Kauai with friends so that we can give them a tour around to all our favorite places!

For other fun we always do a Movie Tour and an ATV tour - both are musts!  We have done the helicoper a couple of times, ridden horses at both Princeville and Silver Falls, and Roger has ziplined in Princeville.  Or you can just hang out at a new beach each day and enjoy the turquoise water!  

If you have any questions about where to go and what to do, just give me a shout and I'll tell you what I know.  if you want to find a place to rent, just check with my good friend and Realtor, Coreen Sarabina.

What is It About Seeing Water?

by Bill Arey

I love walking around the LSU Lakes. On any giving day you will see hundreds of people, walking, jogging, and riding bikes around the lakes. 

What is it about seeing a body of water that creates a peaceful calm feeling? The health benefits of "green space" are well known....... reserach is now being conducted on  the benefits of "blue space" - the impact of seeing the ocean, rivers, lakes, and even urban water features.

None of us needs "scientific proof" of the effect that seeing a beautiful body of water has on most people. It's hard to put into words, but the effect of "blue space" is undeniable.

 

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

225-298-6900

Baton Rouge Symphony Opens the 2015/2016 Season

by Pat Wattam

The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra opens its 2015-16 season, Explorers and Discoveries, in a spectacular display of ground-breaking compositions: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 — a monumental convergence of classicism and romanticism; of the personal and popular— along-side Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto, a reinvention of the concerto placing the orchestra and soloist as both adversaries and much needed allies.

BEETHOVEN           Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major “Emperor,” Op. 73

TCHAIKOVSKY       Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36

“Biss’ considerable gifts have been rightly acclaimed: he has a wonderful fluency and clarity, and a focused intensity.”– The Guardian


AND, as if that isn't enough, there is an optional BLACK TIE event to start the evening!  Join Co-Chairs Whitney Vann and Robert Schneckenburger and the BRSO as they celebrate the opening of the 2015-16 Season!  This black-tie (OPTIONAL) , sit-down dinner features a 4-course premier chef’s menu, wine pairings and special musical entertainment.  An evening that promises to delight, leading up to the 8PM concert.

$150 per person (includes dinner, wine, & $75 donation)

To purchase Gala tickets, please call Liz at 225-400-0335

 

Don't miss this exciting evening in Baton Rouge!

First Time Home Buyers - Tax Advantages to Owning a Home

by Bill Arey

So what are the tax deductions available to homeowners?

 

  1. The home mortgage interest deduction is probably the best-known tax benefit for homeowners. It allows you to deduct all the interest you pay each year on your mortgage – with a few exceptions*
  2. You can deduct PMI in 2015 – Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, protects the lender in the event you default on your loan. PMI may be required as a condition of the mortgage, especially if you put down less than 20% of the purchase price of the home. PMI has typically not been deductible, but in 2015, qualifying homeowners who itemize can claim a tax deduction for the cost of PMI.
  3. Real estate taxes are deductible. Each year, you will receive a property tax bill. Most home owners have their property tax bill paid by their lender out of the escrow account. You can’t deduct the total amount paid into the escrow account, but you can deduct the amount paid out of the escrow account. You will receive from your mortgage servicer a 1098 form at the end of the year detailing your escrow account activity and the amount paid to cover your property tax.
  4. You will enjoy capital gains tax relief in the future when you sell your home. Every home buyer expects to sell their home for more than they paid for it. If you live in the home for at least 5 years there is a good chance that will be the case. If you live in the house for say 20 years,  that will almost certainly be the case. Under current law, a home owner can avoid paying capital gains taxes on up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married filing jointly) so long as you have lived in the property for two of the last five years.

 

Owning a home has several tax benefits, but to take advantage of the benefit you will need to file your tax return on a Form 1040 and itemize your deductions on Schedule A. For most taxpayers and especially first time home buyers, you have probably been using the 1040-EZ form.

 

First time home buyers – congratulations, you have taken a major step in life’s journey. Make sure you fully take advantage of the tax deductions associated with home ownership.

 

* Consult with your CPA or tax advisor.

 

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

Baton Rouge Home Sellers Pricing Issues

by Pat Wattam

One of the hardest concepts for a seller to grasp is pricing their home for sale.  They hear that the Baton Rouge Real Estate Market is a sellers' market and that is a signal that they can price the home however they want to get the price the NEED.  One client said to me the other day that they would not take a penny less than $X, even through the comps didn't support that price in any way.  They NEEDED that money in order to move.  I know that a buyer doesn't care how much money a seller needs.  More importatly, the lender doesn't care how much money the seller needs.  The band wants to make sure that IF the buyer defaults and the bank gets the house back, that the value is there to sell it again.  The buyer just needs the house to appraise for the sales price so that they can close. So, it all falls on the appraiser.  What does an appraiser look for when trying to find value?  They look for 3 homes that are 1.  Hopefully in the same subdivision or in one nearby with the same type of home  2.  Homes with similiar amenities  3.  Homes that have closed in the last 6 months at a maximum.   As the seller pointed out to me the other day, this home had more amenities than any other house in the area.  And if you have a very unique home in a neighborhood of other unique homes, then many times the appraiser can stretch their criteria to find value.   But if you own a traditional house, in a typical subdivision, the subdivision has a CAP on how much homes will sell for.  You can have a home twice as large as any other house in the subdivision but that will not bring you twice as much on the sales price because the house no longer fits with the homes in the subdivision and that can backfire on you.  

So, how is a seller to determine value?  You have to know what homes in your subdivsion historically sell for.  Then you need someone (a REALTOR or pay an appraiser) to interpret this information for y9u.  Want to get started?  Here are three ways!  1. (and the easiest) just give me or one of my team members a call and we'll help you  2.  Call an Appraiser (we can recommend a few for you)  3.  Here's a link for you to get the information on homes for sale and homes that have closed - this comes directly from MLS and will come to you in a monthly email.  Sign up at Market Snapshot!

The Roundabout Way

by Bill Arey

The modern day roundabout, which dates from 1963 in England, arrived in the United States in 1990 in SUMMERLIN - a major Las Vegas residential subdivision. The roundabout pictured is on the campus of Louisiana State University. There are several other roundabouts in the Greater Baton Rouge area. Traffic engineers recognize the greater efficiency in traffic flow that roundabouts provide. 

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

Avoid Viruses and Internet Headaches - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Blake Hanna

Many people think that the one was to avoid viruses, getting hacked, etc., is to simply change your password on your email and other accounts.

This is simply not the case. Changing your password is something your should do on a semi-frequent basis anyway.

 

A few simple but effective way to avoid these headaches is to:

1. DON'T CLICK ON EVERYTHING!

Don't click on random ads, things that look too good to be true, banners or anything that pops up, or really anything you have to think twice about it being a good idea.

 

2. Get a solid anti-virus program. You do not have to spend money to get a good anti-virus program. Windows' stock antivirus program Defender is just fine. If you would prefer not to stick with the stock anti virus, other great ones include, Avast, AVG, Panda, Malwarebytes, and Comodo. 

 

3. Monitor your outoging messages. Check in your sent email and make sure that all the email being sent was actually you. The same goes for social media. 

 

4. Update programs as updates become available. If a program becomes out of date it can be susceptible to attack.

 

5. Use common sense when browsing or clicking around on the internet. 

 

Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team

RE/MAX First

225-678-6403

Blake@patwattam.com

Jazz & Red Beans & Rice!!! - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Blake Hanna

Tonight!

Red Beans & Rice

The Roux House

143 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70801

Good food cooked by a local chef

Great music by local musicians.

Stop by for some good times!

You find the PERFECT house only to discover that the seller has not made one price reduction in the past year it has been on the Market.  You make an offer, they give a little price reduction but that's as far as they are willing to go.  Your concern is that the house will not appraise.  The seller doesn't care.  Either you buy it or they wait and find another buyer.  FRUSTRATING!  The fact is, when a seller is unwilling to reduce the price, there are only two possible outcomes.  They sell the house and it doesn't appraise and the buyer wants it and pays the difference, or the buyer doesn't want it unless it appraises and the seller just waits for the next offer  - even if it another year away.

I have actually had buyers in this position before.  When it's the only house in the area I have had buyers pay anywhere from $1500-20,000 over the appraised value because it truly was the BEST home for them.  That's all well and good if you plan to live there for at least 5 years!  And some houses really are worth paying over appraisal.  Here are some of my criteria:

1.  It is the only house for sale in the subdivision you want to be in

2.  It is the only house you have ever seen that you wanted to buy

3.  Prices for homes in the subdivision are going up and this is the only house available.

4.  Did I say, it's the only house for sale in the subdivision - and especially if there haven't been any homes available in the subdivision for a long time!

5.  The house has something special that you could not get with any other house - and that is typically when the house has a view.  

6.  You can afford to pay over appraised value.

At the Pat Wattam Team we can help you make the decision on whether to go ahead and pay for the house or to let it go and continue looking.

Music Happenings in Baton Rouge This Week!

by Pat Wattam

Do you enjoy Chamber Music? If so, you are in for a TREAT!  Monday, September 14, 2015 at 7:30 the LSU School of Music, Recital Hall on Dalrymple Drive will host  an evening of chamber music.  Philip Myer prinicpal orn wiht the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform with violinist Yova Milanova and Pianist Willis Delony.  Tickets are only $15!!  Call 225-578-3527 for more information!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

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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