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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Buying in a Sellers Market - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

One of the questions we get from Buyers in the current Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market is how sound it is to purchase a home when the inventory is limited and they may have to pay over full price.  They are worried about what will happen when they are ready to sell.  The good news I learned today at the Trends Real Estate Seminar in Baton Rouge  is that with the steady appreciation we have typically experienced in our area, if a buyer holds onto their house for 4 years they should at least break even when they sell.  This is the same information I have given buyers most f my career in real estate with the exception of the 'Katrina years'.  The appreciation we have experienced in our area has typically been betwen 1-3% a year.  Right now we are exeperiencing closer to 5% appreciation. With interrst rates as low as they are this is still a great time to buy a house!!

Low Inventory in a Semi-Hot Baton Rouge Real Estate Market

by Debbie Hanna

If you are currently in the Market to buy a home in the Baton Rouge area, you need to be aware of the lack of inventory we are experiencing in many areas and price ranges. If you are actively searching for homes on the internet, you may have seen some of your “favorites” disappear within days or even hours after they are listed for sale.  

How can you successfully maneuver through the home buying process in these circumstances?  Don't be caught unprepared when market conditions change. Whether it's a Buyer's market or a Seller's market, your homebuying strategies & techniques need to adapt to what's happening. In this "Semi-Hot" Seller's market, buyers can find themselves in multiple offer situations and/or having to move on a house very quickly. 

 It’s important to work with an experienced Realtor, one who understands the current market & can help you negotiate a “winning” offer.  If you have any questions about the homebuying process and need more information about the Baton Rouge Real Estate market, give me a call!

 

 

Debbie Hanna,  REALTOR®  
RE/MAX First 
The Pat Wattam Team   
225-298-6899

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

Confusing Real Estate Terms

by Pat Wattam

Everytime I have someone new join my team in the administrative/Secretarial position, I realize how much the general public really does not know about who the players are in the real estate business.  Some terms can be confusing to the public, so I have made a short list for you! 

REALTOR - an agent who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS who agree to abide by a code of ethics and are accountable to that code.  All the members of the Pat Wattam Team are licensed REALTORS!

Real Estate Agent - someone who has passed the test to be a real estate agent but does not belong to the National Association of REALTORS and does not HAVE to follow the code to protect the public. A Real Estate Broker can't have some agents who are REALTORS and others who are't.  Look for a REALTOR when buying or selling - or just call the Pat Wattam Team!

Real Estate Broker:  The person who has taken further training and can hire real estate agents to work for them.  

Associate Broker:  A person who has taken the broker training but is not the primary broker in the real estate firm.   I have my Broker's License but at RE/MAX First, I am not the broker for the firm - in fact, at RE/MAX First there are many associate brokers as these REALTORS tend to want the additional eduation and could step in and run the company if anything happened to the prinicple broker.

Real Estate Company:  Some companies are stand alone, others are part of a franchise - such as RE/MAX, but each office is typically Independently Owned and Operated - which means they share advertising, web sites, and other items all the companies can do but operate independently of the other offices. 

TEAM - a group of REALTORS who do business together under the umbrella of their Broker and at the direction of their Team Leader.

Team Leader - usually the lead agent in a team.  This person sets the tone and the direction of the team.  My team has been trained to do business like I do, to continue on the traditions I have started and thus are an extension of me.  That allows me to give the same great service to more people that I could by myself!

Buyer Agent or Buyer Specialist:  a full REALTOR who happens to specialise mainly in helping Buyers.  My team are both buyer and seller agents, but more heavily on the buyer end as I handle the majority of the sellers.

HUD or Settlement Statement - this is the most confusing because it now has a new name!  It is the document at Closing that shows where the money goes - to the lender, to pay the Real Estate commission, to pay the title company,  to pay home owners insurance, set up escrow, etc.

Listing agreement - a legal contract that binds a seller for a specific period of time to a real estate company to sell their property.

Purchase agreement - a legally binding contract between a buyer and a seller.  Once all parties have signed, each is legally obligated to complete the transaction.

Property Dicslosure - a document prepared by the seller to let the buyer know the condition of the items in the house that they are aware of.  However, every one who owns a house doesn't really know the condition of it unless it is something they had replaced or installed!  That's why home inspections are so important!

Home Inspection - part of the purchase agreement gives the buyer the time to pay for any and all inspections they want to have on the property so they know what they are buying.  This is not a way to get the seller to turn an old house into a new one - you knew it was old when you made the offer and your offer price reflected that.  However, an inspector is a professional who will point out things that are not working that the seller might not be aware of and will usually give you tips on maintaining your home with items to address in the future.  

These are just a few things I thought of this morning that I thought you might find helpful!  If you have any suggestions for more topics or questions, please send the to [email protected]


A Winning Team

by Debbie Hanna

I have been an avid sports fan all my life, not only watching, but participating. These days, I play tennis & just joined a softball team. I LOVE the competition and of course, WINNING! There's also a great feeling at the end of a match or game when you share that moment with your teammate(s). All of the hardwork & persistence has paid off and everyone has had a great experience! 

It's the same experience when I work with Buyers in the purchase of their home. Together, we form a Team, and at the end of that long match -  from the home search to the contract to the closing, and everything inbetween - we WIN!  Such a great feeling & now they are in the home of their dreams!

If you want to be on my Winning Team, give me a call & lets get started! 225-772-3662

-Practicing for Broadmoor Methodist Softball

Exxpectations

by Pat Wattam

One of the most interesting parts of real estate are managing the expectations of the clients.  Think about this.  The buyers expectation of the seller is to give them a house in move in condition.  The seller of an existing house they are tired of decide,  instead of updating it, they'll just sell it.  The expectations of these two clients are in direct conflict.  As a Realtor, one of our jobs is to help our clients bring their expectations into the reality of the local Market.  A seller is not usually going to make their 40 year old home a new home, with everything updated.  However, we do expect the seller to have maintained the home.  They don't get extra value for having a new HVAC system because that is considered maintenance.  But will it make their house sell faster?  Yes.  And that helps make them more money.  Say a new HVAC costs $5000.  If the seller doesn't want to repair the system and wants to sell their house with no repairs, a buyer is going to offer significantly less than the cost of the HVAC.  Why?  Because many buyers make the assumption that if the seller hasn't maintained the HVAC, what else has not been maintained.  And, depending on the price range, the buyer may not have the cash to do the replacement, so they just go select another house.  

Some other expectations that have to be managed include what a client expects of us, as Realtors, and what we, as Realtors, expect of our clients.  We expect our clients to be on time and respect our time as we respect theirs.  We expect our buyers to be prequalified.  We expect our sellers to disclose all the information about the condition of their home so that we can give them the best advice possible.  We expect loyalty, as we give our clients.  We expect sellers to make their house availble to be shown at all reasonable hours.  We expect our buyers to give us notice when they want to see houses so that we have time to make the appointment to see it.  

All of these expectations are discussed in our counseling interviews with our buyers and sellers.  Isn't it nice that we can talk about all of this up front?  Sure makes for a nice real estate transaction!!!  All of us on the Pat Wattam Team look forward to helping you buy or sell your next house!  Let's get together and discuss expectations!!

Home Maintenance

by Blake Hanna

Your home needs regular maintenance to stay in best condition

Here are some items for interior and exterior maintenance


Exterior

  • Keep your lawn healthy and green.(Fertilize if necessary)

  • Keep plants and other landscaping healthy

  • Keep your grass cut.(Service your lawn mower when needed)

  • Clean gutters and downspouts

  • Wash windows and clean window wells

  • Repair or replace damaged windows

  • Touch up paint that is peeling or is damaged

  • Inspect you roof and chimney periodically for damage.(Especially after big storms)

  • Check for signs of moisture intrusion.

Interior

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors(replace batteries as needed)

  • Change or clean air conditioning filters.

  • Check windows for cracks and weather tightness.

  • Dust blinds and vacuum curtains.

  • Clean kitchen appliances inside and out.

  • Check appliances for leaks.

  • Check showers, tubs and sinks for leaks.

  • Check to make sure drains are draining properly. 

Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team

225-298-6903

[email protected]

Attention Home Owners-Save Money!

by Blake Hanna

If you haven't already, don't forget to file for your homestead exemption!

Save money on your taxes!


What is the Homestead Exemption?

 

  • The homestead exemption is a tax exemption on the first $75,000 of the value of a person’s home. This exemption applies to all homeowners. The value of your home is exempt up to $75,000 from state and parish property taxes.
225-678-6403

 

Latest "Must Have" Amenities of Home Buyers

by Pat Wattam

Wondering what the latest "must have" amenities are for people looking for a home?  Besides an upscale kitchen, and lots of space, new home buyers' are looking for these 5 in-demand amenities.

Walk-in Closets

One of the top priorities is large closets, especially in the master bedroom.

Luxurious Laundry Rooms

Buyers want more than just a place for their washer and dryer.  They are looking for built-in ironing boards, space for folding/hanging clothes, and extra storage.

Energy Efficiency

Home buyers are looking to cut utility costs and energy efficiency applicances and products can be one way to do that.     

Great Rooms

Open space floor plans which merge the kitchen, dining room and living room are stil in high demand for home buyers.

Taller First-Floor Ceilings

More home buyers want the first floor ceilings to be higher than the traditional eight foot ceiling.  They are looking for nine foot and higher ceiling heights.

Will Mortgage Rates Rise in 2015?

by Blake Hanna

Every year one concern for home buyers is what their interest rate will be.  Mortgage rates for 2015 are predicted to rise, but when and how much?  For most of 2014, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fluctuated between just above 4% and 4.5%. 

Here are four trends to watch for in 2015:

The demographic wave of Millennials will help boost prices.  

Baby Boomers made up the largest population for the past decade.  However, as of late last year, the now 23 year olds make up the largest population, followed by 24 and 22 year olds, respectively.  As this generation ages another year, they will begin to settle down, start families and begin to look for homes.

Young people will continue to demand housing where it's tough to build.  

Single-family home construction has been so subdued in part because the Millennial generation as a whoe prefers to live where housing is expensive and where building in difficult.

Mortgage rates will rise.  

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac, predicts rates will rise to 5% in late 2015.

Home price increases will decelerate, but affordability will decline.  

It is predicted that home values will rise, but even slower than last year.  A survey of homeowners suggested that more of them will look to sell their home next year, putting more downward pressure on prices.

If you're thinking of buying a home, now may be the time since even a modest increase can increase monthly mortgage costs, depending on the size of the loan.

Blake Hanna, Realtor

225-298-6903

[email protected]

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

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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