Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 12

The Pat Wattam Team Stands Ready to Assist

by Blake Hanna

With the horrible time our state is facing, it's easy to think you are alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Our team has a wealth of resources available and we are here to help you. If you need home repair, we hae people we can put you in touch with. If you have questions about flood insurance, call us now and we'll make sure your questions are answered. If your home was flooded and you don't have flood insurance, call us now. There is relief available. If you need to make a home purchase or find a place to rent immediately, we can help. We stand ready to help however we can in these difficult times. 

The Pat Wattam Team is ready to assist you!

We have several vacant homes for sale right now that would make for an easy move. Call us now to find out more! (225)298-6900

These are priced between $130k-180k


Fears of Home Buyers in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Many people are afraid to jump into the housing Market due to their fears.  As  REALTORS, we want to address your fears up front so that we can see if there are ways to manage them or over come them.  That is one of the reasons that a good REALTOR will do a Buyer Consultation with you before showing you houses.  We need to know what your concerns are so we can help you determine if home ownership is for you.  Here is a list of some fears we have encountered over the years at the Pat Wattam TeamBAton:

1.  Fear of Maintenance Costs:  This is a concern for anyone buying a house - whether you are a first time home buyer or a move up buyer.  If you have been a renter for a long time and are used to your management company handling all repairs then one of the things you need to understand from day one is now all those expenses are yours.  You need to put money away every month into a special account that you only use for home maintenance.  Another way to ease into home ownership is to own a Condo where the exterior maintenace is covered by your Home Owner Association.  But in my opinion, the best thing you can to is make sure you get a Home Owners Warranty for your new home.  These typically cover mechanical issues such as air, heat, and built-in appliances, but also some wiring and plumbing.  Each company has different offering so check them out.  Many times a seller will offer one or you can ask for it when you make an offer on their house.  One of the biggest expenses in owning a home is replacing a roof.  Because of the weather we have had since 2008 you can expect the home to have had their roof replaced at some time since then!  As a buyer, one of your costs in purchasing a home is paying for a home inspection.  This is some of the best money you can expect to spend.  The inspector will let you know if the house has any serious issues and you can then ask the seller to fix them (just remember, a home inspection request for repairs isn't going to turn an older house into a new house) and they usually let you know if there are future maintence items that you should save up for.

2.  Loss of Value:  This only comes into play when you want to move.  We own a beach condo in Alabama that is worth a little more than half of what we paid for it.  Doesn't matter.  I don't intend to sell the property.  But what if I HAD to sell?  I have some money stashed away that would covere the difference between what I owe and what I could sell it for.  And as we have found out in 2008, sometimes your mortgage company will work with you.  We can't control the economy, the world situation, terrorism, unemployment, etc.  The main thing is to buy wisely.  If you buy a typical home, in a neighborhood that historically has sold well in all markets, in a price range that is pretty average, then you have hedged your bets for any downturn.  If you don't plan to stay in the area for a long time then be very careful when purchasing.  

 3. Loss of Deposit:  Louisiana is not an Ernest Money State but a Specific Performance State.  The Purchase Agreement spells out how a buyer gets their deposit back such as: A.  Not Able to Obtain Financing  B.  House doesn't appraise and seller does not agree to reduce price to appraised value  C.  During inspection Period.  However, it does not allow for the buyer to change their mind, do something to prevent the from qualifying (remember, you will have a letter from your lender when you make your offer so there is proof that you did something that made you no longer qualify).  The Specific Performance in Louisiana says that if you default the seller can sue you to complete the sale or 10% of the value.  You would also be exposed to pay real estate commissions, etc.  Entering into a purchase agreement is a legal document.  Be very prepared to perform.

4.  Being Unable To Afford Your Mortgage Payment:  First, don't even think about buying a house until you have spoken to a lender - preferably a lender that has been recommended to you by someone you trust.  Determine upfront the cost of buying a house and what kind of payments to expect.  Then all I can say about this is to be sure you are ready to be a home owner.  One of the requirements by lenders is that you have residual money - meaning you have enough money saved to make several months of house payments.  You need to always have that in a special account that you only tap into when you are desperate. Those days of the crazy mortgages where the house note goes up every year or has a balloon payment are pretty much gone.  I tell couples to try to qualify for a house on just one income.  That really comes into play in case one of them cannot work.   The loss of a job is one of the biggest reasons why people can no longer afford their homes.  Most people wait too long to put their home up for sale when this happens, thinking things will turn around - and usually they are right.  But how many months do you wait? 3 months would be my limit.    Remember, if you are conservative in what you qualify for, if something happens you should be in good shape and still able to afford your home.

5.  Buyer's Remorse:  You are afraid you will buy the wrong house, or a better house is just around the corner.  I can tell you that a 'better' house is always just around the corner.  New homes come on the market everyday.  You will be paralysed if you think like this.  Know what the 'must haves' are for you in a home.  Make your wish list too.  Then you will love whatever home you purchase.  I tell people that anyone can make any house their home - just by bringing in your personal touches.  Try to find a home that meets your Must Haves and a few of your wish list too - then you will be happy!  Be sure to share that list with your REALTOR and they can tell you if it is realistic in our Baton Rouge Real Estate Market.  If they tell you that what you want is impossible for the price you are willing to pay, then you have two choices.  Save up more money to buy the kind of home you want or delete things from your list until you find homes in your price range.  

Homebuying should be a fun and exciting time in your life.  We want to be part of that process with you!  Start with this video on 8 Steps to Buying a Home.  Then don't hesitate to call us at the Pat Wattam Team anytime for a free consultation.  225-978-6688.

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 

Prequalification and Preapproval

by Blake Hanna

When you've decided to buy a new home, obtaining financing is one of the first key steps. The definitions of prequalification and preapproval can be confusing, so here is a break down. 

 

Prequalification

This is a preliminary estimate of how much you can afford to pay for a home based on information you provide. This is a rough idea of a monthly mortgage and total loan value. This is a great way to begin the home buying process to see where you stand. A prequalification letter from a lender is usually required when writing a contract on a home to purchase.

Preapproval

This is an official written commitment from a lender to finance the home purchase. This means the lender has taken a close look at your financial history and has signed off to loan you a certain amount of money.

 

 

    Blake Hanna, Realtor 

As a home buyer, one of the things that causes the most stress is to put in an offer on a house where you suddenly find 2 or 3 other people also want YOUR house and put in an offer too.  Now you are in competition to get the home of your dreams.  At this point, a lot of buyers just back out of the picture (which is why you want to stay in until the end!).   True, you are going to be paying top dollar, going over list price in most cases, and buying the house without the parachute of an appraisal - all in order to land that dream home.  Is it really worth all this stress?  YES, YES, YES!!  Why? you might ask.  In this economy if a house is really 'hot' can you imagine how sought after it will be when the Market turns around???  

In order to stack the cards in your favor here are a few tips you can try:

1.  Write the seller a letter on why you love their house.  BE SPECIFIC.  

2.  Offer over list price - and I don't mean $500-1000 - although that sometimes will do it.  Make it significant so that the seller has no choice but to choose you.

3.  Don't make the offer subject to the house appraising.  Have the extra cash to cover how high you bid over list price.  

4.  Make your offer 'as is' with no repairs.  Still have your inspection but let the seller know you aren't coming back to them for anything.

During hurricane Katrina we used these tactics and all of our buyers got the house they wanted.  

Remember, shopping for a house is fun, but living in the house you really want is worth a little extra effort!  Looking for a home?  Give us a call today and we'll get you started on that home search!

Top 10 Financial Resolutions for Home Buyers

by The Pat Wattam Team

Making plans to purchase a new home or even to make a move up requires financial planning.  As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, home buying clients often ask for advice on the best ways to manage and save money. Here are some tips from www.bills.com:

1. Make a plan. Create a straightforward budget for the year and monitor it monthly or weekly. Each month, review your progress and revise where necessary. Make a date with yourself or your significant other each month and make it mandatory.  Come prepared with updated records.

2. Use cash. This is probably the single biggest idea to start creating wealth!  Move away from credit cards and avoid going into debt, especially for daily, routine and ongoing purchases. Write checks or use automatic bill payments for bills, and withdraw enough cash or use a debit card for other expenses. Track withdrawals diligently to avoid going into overdraft. It's hard to do but after a year you will find it very easy, and your credit cards will no longer be a drain!

3. Pay bills on time. This sounds like a 'no brainer' but in this economic climate you need as perfect credit as you can to buy a home, and just being late 1 time on your mortgage will keep you from buying another house.  The most important element of good credit is paying bills on time. Keep bills in one location and check that spot weekly. Set up online payments or write due dates on a calendar to stay on track.

4.Save, Save, and then Save some more!  Your goal should be to save 10% or more of your income, but starting with even a few dollars a week is a great way to develop the habit of saving. You can always add more to your savings at any time. For example, after you pay off a bill, add the amount you would normally pay toward the bill to your savings instead. If you get a raise, bonus, cash gift or other one-time monetary receipt, save it—or at least a portion of it. Skip eating out one day a week, or, get this - skip the fancy coffee.  At $4 a pop, times 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year......well, you the picture!

5. Practice preventative health. Case in point:  my brother knew something was wrong with his foot but just kept putting off going to the doctor - until he got really sick and was running a fever.  Come out to find, he had diabetes and ended up with a toe amputated - just because he refused to take the time to go to a doctor.  Money cannot buy good health, but in today’s world of skyrocketing medical and insurance costs, getting sick can cost you. Exercise and eat well, get enough sleep and, in these stressful times, take time to pursue relaxation practices, whether that means spiritual practices, meditation, a workout or coffee with a friend.

6. Think twice before spending. Find creative ways to cut back on expenses—take care of household maintenance, barter services or goods with friends or neighbors, and fix up old belongings rather than rushing to buy new ones. Some statistics say that people buy 30% more when shopping with a larger cart, so even a small change like avoiding the store cart when possible could save you money. Once you go to an all cash plan this is easier to control.

7. Participate in a retirement plan. Many believe now is a great time to invest for the long term. Especially if your employer matches contributions, contribute to a business retirement plan. If you are on your own for retirement savings, invest in an Individual IRA, Roth IRA and/or plan for self-employed persons.

8. Have the right insurance. Insurance protects against expenses you cannot cover yourself. Be sure you have life insurance to protect your family, auto insurance to cover your car, health insurance to provide for at least major medical incidents, and home or renter's insurance to protect possessions from theft or disaster.  Remember, the insurance company doesn't want to pay you so you have to be very persistent when you are due - but don't use it unless you absolutely have to - your rates will probably be raised if you use it a lot.

9. Pay taxes on time. File your income tax return on or before April 15, with any tax due, to avoid penalties. At the same time, adjust withholding if needed to account for changes in income. That step might be especially important this year for those with lost or reduced work. If your refund was large, have fewer taxes withheld so you are not giving an interest-free loan to the government.

10. Get help if you need it. If you lose your job, file for unemployment quickly. If you are worried that you will be unable to pay rent, mortgage or other obligations, talk to your bank or a reputable debt resolution company to learn about your options.

Remember that today’s attractive housing prices, combined with the government’s expanded and extended home buyer tax credit, make investing in a home one of the best ways to secure your financial well being. If you would like more information, e-mail me, and please forward these sound financial tips to your family and friends.

Tax Credit Information for Baton Rouge

by The Pat Wattam Team

David Knox, noted real estate trainer, explains the tax credit for repeat buyers, first time home buyers, and why now is the time to buy.  Check it out below:

Buyers BEWARE!!!

by The Pat Wattam Team

For you buyers who are still sitting on the fence, unable to make a decision about which house to buy so that you can take advantage of the $8000 Tax Credit - ACT NOW!  You only have about 1 week left in which to purchase a house and hope to get it to closing in time to qualify for the tax credit!!  If you don't, YOU ARE THOWING AWAY $8,000!!!!!  I say this for the buyers who just can't seem to make that committment! 

If you haven't found a house you like, then don't be rushed.  This is your home, a place you plan to live for the next few years.  If nothing out there appeals to you, then wait until you find the right house.  BUT, I do have to say, if you can't find ANYTHING to buy, perhaps you need to look at your criteria again.  If there is nothing that fits your budget, then you just need to save up more money or pay down debt so you qualify for more.  Of couse, if you are only need to go up in price $8000-10,000, then buy now and use the Tax Credit to repay yourself!  But if all the houses need some updating, take your tax credit and make the house into what you want! 

Either way, you need to make a decision now.  Call us for help in finding the perfect home.  We'll help you see the pros and cons of your homes to help you make the right decision - timely!

Time is Running Out for the $8000 Tax Credit

by The Pat Wattam Team

We are getting questions from buyers asking how much longer do they have to take advantage of the first time home buyer $8000 tax credit.  They think they can wait until the end of November to close, as that is when the tax credit expires.  At the Pat Wattam Team, we STRONGLY believe there will be a rush at in November, and the lenders, appraisers, underwriters and title companies will quickly bog down in, and due to the Thanksgiving holiday, many of these loans will not close in time and there will be buyers who miss out on the tax credit just because they waited to late to start the loan process.

We are recommending to our clients that they actually close on their new home by November 1!!!!  We are having them all get their credit approval now, while we are shopping for homes for them, so that we can make sure that they do not miss out on the $8000.

If you are a first time home buyer and are not sure where to start, please call the Pat Wattam Team anytime and we will counsel you on the home buying steps, where to start, and make sure that YOU don't miss out on the Tax Credit. 

Contact Info:

Pat Wattam    225-298-6900    [email protected]

Kyle Petersen   225-298-6901   [email protected]

Debbie Hanna  225-298-6899    [email protected]

Karen O'Pry   225-298-6902      [email protected]

Tax Credit Information Update

by The Pat Wattam Team

Seems everyone jumped the gun last week on the plan to allow first time home buyers to take advantage of the Tax Credit at closing as part of a down payment.  Seems HUD is concerned that this will create more bad loans and have shelved the idea for now. 

It is an interesting thought that this could create more bad loans since the buyers now have to have a pretty good credit score to even buy a property. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next couple of weeks!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 12

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Share This Page

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