Real Estate Information Archive


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Preparing Your House to Sell or Not!

by Pat Wattam

I found this article I wrote back in 2006 and was shocked that nothing has changed in real estate!  Buyers don't want to spend the money doing updates - they want a house ready to go.  This is a relevant today as it was 11 years ago.  Take a few minutes and read this article:

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Each spring you start your annual cleaning and then, one spring you discover that it is just time to move to a new house.  Where do you start to get your house ready for sale?  Many people think that they shouldn’t update their home because the new buyers might not like the colors they pick out….or they don’t want to do minor repairs because they think they will just knock a little off the asking price to compensate.  From my 20+ years of experience I can tell you that the home that looks the best and needs the least amount of work will be the one that sells the fastest and for the highest dollar.  So where do you start?

“Curb appeal!”  Many a house has gone begging for buyers simply because it didn’t “look good” from the street.  It doesn’t matter what’s on the inside if the buyer isn’t willing to walk in the door. What do you notice first when you drive up?  Does the landscaping set the stage for the house?  Is it overgrown or even non-existant??  This is an area where most sellers do not want to spend a lot of time or money.  Often, whatever was there when they purchased the home is still there.  Adding plants with bright colors really makes your house stand out in otherwise dreary weather conditions 

Walk around the house and look for peeling paint, loose or missing shingles, rotten fascia boards, rotten wood frame around windows.  These are items that are considered maintenance and should be done prior to putting the house on the Market.  Believe me, if you see it, the buyer’s inspector will certainly notice it and you’ll end up doing these repairs anyway.  Better to do them now!!!  … and take a quick look at your storage room/boat port/workshop.  If you can’t actually walk in the door, some serious house-cleaning is in order!  

Inside the house--You don’t have to redo the whole house to sell it, but a fresh coat of paint and new carpet with neutral colors will really brighten up your house and make it sell faster.  That wall paper you have had since the 80’s really has to go.  There are ways to cover it without expensive re-papering.  There are many little things you can do, that don’t cost a lot of money and will really make your house sparkle.  Change out light fixtures and knobs on cabinets, especially if yours are really dated.  Paint dark paneling a lighter color, and refinish the tub if it’s really looks bad – no one likes a tub that looks dirty and sometimes the finish is so far gone that you just can’t get it to look clean. Make sure all appliances work and have the HVAC cleaned and serviced – and ask the technician to look at your unit as if YOU were buying it. 

A lot of people ask me if all this is really necessary--since our market has been so strong since hurricane Katrina.  The answer is, “Yes!”  Today we have a lot more buyers who can qualify for a house but really have no available cash, which is why we see so many people getting 100% financing.  They don’t have the funds to update a house or make any repairs.  They will pass up a house that needs updating in favor of another one that is ready to go.

Let me leave you with this thought.  Even if you aren’t planning to sell your house for another year or two, wouldn’t it be great for you to enjoy the benefits of sprucing up your home?  When it’s time for spring cleaning, make a list of a few things that you would like to update and then do them.  When it’s time for you to sell, you will have much less work to do, and you will have had the chance to enjoy the updates yourself!!

Pat Wattam

RE/MAX First Realtors

How to Make Your House Sell!!!

by Pat Wattam

Sellers always want to know what they have to do to make their home sell.  First off, real  estate is very local.  What works for Baton Rouge Real Estate might not work for Los Angeles real estate.  Our Market was very hot last spring and early summer but has cooled off significantly.  As I have mentioned before, the homes that flooded that are being rehabbed and flipped are gorgeous.  Most have been converted to more open floor plans, and everything is new - flooring, cabinets, counters, lights, etc.  It's very hard for a home that did not flood to compete with these unless the buyer is dead set against purchasing a home that flooded once in it's entire history.  But if the buyer has a choice between a beautiful flooded home and and updated home that did not flood, which one do you think they will select?

So here are my observations if you want to make your house sell:

1.  Roof - buyer and their insurer want a roof that has good life left it in and that it is in good condition.  Sometimes a few repairs are all that's necessary.  A roof near the end of it's life is a turn off for a buyer.  They will move on to another house.

2.  HVAC - again, the buyer is going to want a new unit if yours is at the end of it's life, even if it is in good working condition.  They know it's going to go out at some time.  You can always put a Home Warranty on it, especially if you have it serviced and it's shown to be in good working condition.  BTW, adding freon every so often is not GOOD working condition.  Let's face it.  Most of us live with small issues with our homes all the time.  But when it comes time to sell, the buyer doesn't want your small issues.  They want things to work properly and they don't want to be facing any additional expense, especially the first year they own the house.

3.  Wallpaper is really a matter of personal taste and those big cabbage roses on wallpaper from the 80's do nothing for young people today.  Wallpaper has to go.  Paint a neutral color but not white.

4.  Speaking of color, a little paint will go a long way to update a house.  Get a decorator to help you select what's current.  Make your house look it's best.

5.  No WALL OF FAME (hall with all those family photos) and DECLUTTER.  This means to depersonalize the house (don't take down ALL your family photos but don't have them in the buyers face either) and make the house as sparce as possible so the buyer can visualize their 'stuff' in your house.  Take a photo of a room with your phone camera.  Most people shop on their phone so look at the photo you took and see how cluttered a room looks or what is the first thing you see.  If the first thing you see is beautiful furniture, then that does not sell the house.  You are selling the 'purpose' of a room such as - is the bedroom large enough for a bed and whatever.  

6.  Furniture.  Yes, your old outdated furniture can affect the price you get for the house and can affect it selling at all.  The young person looking at your house will think it is really old if you have your 30 year old worn furniture.  Try to update it.  Sometimes the right throw pillow can do the trick.  Or the right bed covering.

7.  Curb appeal.  You have to get the buyer to want to see inside the house so the outside needs to be inviting.  Fresh landscaping can really make a house 'pop'.

8.  Outdoor kitchens are the rage these days along with deep covered backporches, expanded patios and pergolas.  If you don't have this, then set your backyard up with some patio furniture you will like at your next house and an outdoor grill of somekind.  Make the backyard inviting where people can see themselves enjoying their friends and family.

9.  Updated kitchens - especially countertops and appliances.

10.  Sparkling clean and good smell throughout.  Nothing like the smell of fresh paint and carpet.

11.  Speaking of carpet - I know you don't want to change the carpet because the next buyer might not like it.  They won't like you old stained carpet either.  Unless you have small children or pets, change the carpet.  If you do have small children and pets, then get a sample of the carpet you are going to change it to and leave it for the buyer to see.

12.  No bugs in the light fixtures!!  No dust on the fan blades.  Pay attention to the AC register vents - make sure there is no mold or mildew.  AND the intake register should be really clean plus a new filter.

13.  What makes your house special?  Each house has something very unique or cool that will make it memorable to the buyer.  Make your house STANDOUT from the comeptition!

14.  Price it to sell.  If you want a higher price, just show us the 3 houses the appraiser will have to use to justify the price.

15.  Seller the right REALTOR!


Want more tips?  Just look through the blog at  or give us a call at the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First.  225-298-6900!!

The Right Marketing will Make My House Sell, Won't It?

by Pat Wattam

How many times have I met with a seller whose listing (of their home for sale) has expired with their current REALTOR and  when I ask why they (the seller) think their house did not sell, they typically say that their REALTOR did not do enough marketing.  And, sometimes that is the case.  One of the big things we bring to the table is our ability to Market the house to more people than an average person can, so that more people know about the house and you have the best opportunity to find the right buyer.  But when I also ask the seller how many showings they have had over the past 6 months and their answer is 30 then I know the house has been marketed properly.  Then my question is, 'why didn't any of those people make an offer on the house?  What kind of feedback did you receive?"  And then there is the typical response; "my agent didn't advertise it enough".   I already know at this point that PRICE is the issue.  Location and Price will attract a buyer.  PRICE and CONDITION will sell the house.

People always want to find someone else to blame for things not going their way.  Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you REALLY want to sell and are you ready to do what it takes to make that happen.  I have some clients who don't have the financial means to do the updates or their mortgage balance is too high and they don't have the cash available to pay the shortfall.  I also have other clients in the exact same position and they really want to make the house sell, so they borrow the money so they can move ahead with their life.  Other people don't have that option and just have to wait out the market or save up the money.  Life is short so if selling a house gets you to the next phase in your life, don't let anything stop you.  MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

Why Do I Have To Reduce My Price? Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Why do I have to lower the list price of my house?

First off, as a home seller, you do not HAVE to lower the price of your house but you may need to in order to find a buyer!  When REALTORS list a house there are many factors that are considered.  We rely most heavily on the most recent sales around the house - homes in the same subdivision, same size, and same amenities.  Many times a lot of weight is placed of the living area square footage.  Other times the seller insists that their house is better than any others that have closed so their house should be priced higher.   And sometimes the house has more amenities than the others in the subdivision so we want to give those updates some extra value.  However, in the end you just make a judgement call together based on the information you have.  BUT, by the time you have had 10-15 showings and you don't have an offer, then price becomes the issue.  Remember, Price and Location attracts buyers but once they see the house it is all about Price and Condition.   So, if you have showings and no offers you have to do something - or you will continue to get the same results!  You have to change the price to find the sweet spot where the buyers for YOUR house are shopping. 

The next possible issue is that the real estate Market starts declining and the price you started with is no longer in line with the most recent sales. That's why you have to look at the market monthly to see where the market is headed.  You want to jump ahead of a downward trend instead of chasing it down and always being behind. 

If the condition of the property is not as updated as the homes that are closing, then that might be the best option - spend a few dollars updating and make it sell! 

Keeping things the same with price and/or condition with generate the same results!  So, what's your best course of action?  Give me a call and together we will look at the market and determine the best price to start with - and if the market rejects it - then we move on to a different price to REPOSITION your house in the market.   That's how you get your house sold!  Call me anytime for a free consultation.

5 Things To Make Your House Sell Faster - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Here are the 5 things you can do to make your home sell faster and for more money:


1.  Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.  Make sure both your kitchen and your bathrooms are as up-to-date as your budget will allow.  If you only have a small budget, this pays big dividends when selling.


2.  Paint freshens up a home in amazing ways.  It can make a worn, live-in home look almost brand new.  Repainting your rooms will do wonders to making prospects love your home.


3.  Make sure your carpets are completely clean and stain-free ... or replace them with new ones.  If you have hard wood floors, make sure they look dynamite.


4.  Fix everything.  Prospects notice the smallest things, and it's usually the small things that kill a sale.  Leave nothing to chance:  replace all burned out bulbs, screw in all handles and knobs, repair cracks in tiles or in your driveway, etc.


5.  Get rid of the clutter.  Prospects want a big, spacious home to put their stuff.  So get rid of "stuff" in your house so the rooms look bigger and more spacious.

Unsure of where to start? I have a set of free videos available for you to watch.  Or give us a call at the Pat Wattam Team and we'll help you sort out what needs to be done and in what order!

Why Didn't They Buy My House - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Why didn't they by my house?  This is a common lament of many sellers who are getting lots of showings on their home but no one's making an offer.  How disheartening that can be when you are taking the time to make your home spotless and sparkling clean.  You may had made some updates throughout the house but the buyers still say your house needs updating.

The first question I have myself when I see this happening with one of my Listings is : Are there any homes pending in the sellers price range, area, and sq ft.   If the answer is yes, then my job is to take a look at those homes and see what they had that my sellers' house doesn't have. If those homes have the slab granite in the kitchen and the bathrooms, fresh paint, and new carpet AND their list price on the their house is the same or lower than yours, that's why they sold and not you did not.   

If the homes that are pending our floor pricing your house then that's the issue.  But what if no homes are pending that are similar to your house,  what do you do then?   It depends on the time of the year.  There is some seasons that are just very slow in general such as when school gets out or when school starts back up or during the holidays.

But the real answer is - if your home is getting  many showings and you have no offers something has to change. When I have between 10 and 15 buyers come to see a home the house should have an offer on it. If you're getting no offers,  including lowball offers, then you have priced yourself out of the Market or your condition does not support your price.  Make a change and make the house sell!

Your REALTOR is  your best guide to help you determine what needs to be done to get your house sold.   Many sellers don't want to believe that price and condition are that important.  They think with the right marketing we can drive in the buyers and one will make an offer. Part of that is true.  Our marketing does drive in the buyers but marketing cannot make a buyer want to buy your house.  Once they see the house, the house and the price have to sell it.  

So, if your house is getting lots of showings and no offers, update the condition or lower the price! Check out our videos on the subject then give us a call!   

Appraisal Issues - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Let me lead off by saying the real estate Market in general is heating up!  Many areas of the counter are experiencing low inventory and more buyers than homes available for sale.  Which can lead to appraisal issues.  Even though the real estate market in Baton Rouge is not THAT bad, we are seeing pockets where a homes are receiving multiple offers and not enough selections for the buyers.

When you buy or sell a house, the lender will order an appraisal to make sure that the price the home is sold for is what it is worth, just in case the buyer defaults and the lender ends up foreclosing on the house.  The lender wants to make sure they limit their risk.  In a normal market - not a sellers' market or a buyers' market - this usually works quite well.  There are enough homes to select so that if a home does not appraise and the seller refuses to reduce the house to the appraised value, the buyer can find another house to purchase.  The seller will eventually get the point and will either sell at the right price or take their house off the market.

However, if you are in a sellers' market - that means, there are few homes to select from - or in a rising market which means home prices are rising faster than the appraisals can document (remember, appraisers look back 6 months to find comparables - not much help when the market is heating up going forward) - then if the appraisal comes in short, typically the seller may have one or two back up offers who just want to get this house and will be willing to pay over appraised value.  They do this recognizing that the market is moving up and  figures the appraisal value of the house will soon be what they are paid for it.  If you are the buyer in this situation, unless you have the ability to get extra cash to pay the difference you may be left out of the housing market.

If you are the seller in a buyers' market - meaning there are lots of homes to select from and the buyer can be very picky - then if your appraisal comes in low, you need to just reduce to the appraised value so you can go on with your life.  Waiting for the market to come up to the value you want for your house could take years in this situation.

However, what do you do when the house you are buying or selling does not appraise and the appraiser did not give any value for items that other houses didn't have, or selects the wrong comps?  This is pretty tricky today.  The BUYER is the one that needs to protest.  The listing agent can help find comps to justify the value, or find mistakes or things left out in the appraisal.  It's up to the lender to decide if these things warrant going back to the appraiser.  When I have this issue with a buyer, I typically change lenders so that I can get a new appraisal for my buyer.  

A good REALTOR can help guide you when this issue arises.  

How to Get an Offer on Your Home

by Blake Hanna

When writing an offer, especially in a Market that is changing from a buyer's market to a seller's market, there are a few essential items you need to beat out your competition - or get the seller to want you to buy their house!  Here are tip from the Pat Wattam Team:

1.  No Contingency on the sale of Real Estate.  It is safe to have a contingency upon the closing of real estate, but if you haven't even gotten an offer on your house, then you aren't even in the game.  In fact, if your house is under contract and you have passed the Inspection period, even better!  It's scary for a seller to even take this contingency unless you have asked YOUR buyer to have their lender provide you with proof that their credit score, debt to income ratio, and cash available for closing are all acceptable for the loan they have applied for.  Think in terms of how the seller will look at what you are offering and try to take away their fears.

2.  Have a Pre-Approval - not a Pre-Qualfication.  Meet with the lender, have them pull your credit score and run you through desk top under writing.  Bring in you filed tax returns, bank accounts, etc. so the lender can verify your qualifications.  If you have any issues, work with the lender to get all of that settled BEFORE you write the offer.  Makes you a stronger buyer.

3.  Put up a substantial deposit - not just $500.  Although the deposit is just that, a deposit, it shows the seller that you have cash.

4.  Be flexible on the move in date after closing.  Give the seller the time they need to move out after you close so that they can confidently move forward.  With lender rules continually changing, a seller doesn't really know until he receives his proceeds from the sale the the house is truly sold!

5.  If you love the house and it's really HOT, add an escalation clause in your contract.  We can help you with that.

The first step in writing an offer is finding the right house - and if you want to be even more knowledgeable, make an appointment to meet with one of members of the Pat Wattam Team for a Buyer counseling interview.  We will go over the criteria you are looking for in your new home, get you started with your pre-approval, and give you a Home Buyer's Handbook.  Give us a call today!  225-298-6900


Blake Hanna, Realtor


[email protected]


Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

by Pat Wattam

Are you thinking about putting your home on the Market?  Every seller wants their home to sell fast and get top dollar.  Careful planning and knowing how to spruce up your home, will bring buyers in to see it!  Here are a few suggestions to prep your home before trying to sell it.

Disassociate Yourself from Your Home

Make the mental decision to "let go" your emotions and focus on the fact that the house will no longer be yours.  Don't look back - look toward the future.


Pack up all of your personal photographs and family heirlooms.  Buyers can't get past looking at these items which can easily distract them.  You want the buyers to imagine their own items displayed.


It's amazing how much junk people collect over the years!  Remove books from bookcases, pack up those knickknacks, clean off everything on kitchen counters.  If you haven't used it in a year, you probably don't need it.

Rearrange Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets

Buyers always "snoop" when they are viewing the home.  If things are organized, they will think you really take care of the rest of the house as well.

Remove/Replace Favorite Items

If there are things that you want to take with you when you move, go ahead and move those items now.  For example, if your grandmother gave you the chandelier in the dining room, go ahead and take it down.  The same goes for window treatments, built in appliances, and fixtures.  If the buyer doesn't see it, they won't want it.

Make Minor Repairs

Take the time to patch holes in walls, replace light bulbs, fix leaky faucets, consider painting the walls a neutral color.  

Doing these things will help put you ahead of your competition!


PREPARING Your House to SELL Room by Room!

by Pat Wattam

Here are some quick tips on preparing your home to sell:

1.  Make sure the doorbell works

2.  Brighten up the entryway/foyer

3.  Clean the house from top to bottom!

4.  Removed peeled or torn wallpaper and borders

5.   Kitchen:  remove items you normally store on the counter

6.  Living Room:  Open Drapes and blinds to bring in light

7.  Bathrooms must sparkle.  Try a fresh new shower curtain!

8.  Bedrooms:  New bedspreads or quilts - not the one that's 10 years old - it looks dated!

9.  Office:  Remove big, bulky filing cabinets

10.  Laundry:  Clean and polish the washer and dryer - make them shiny!

Want a copy of my 101 Quick and Easy Tips to Make Your House Show Like a Model Home?  Email your request to [email protected] for your copy!

Ready to sell your house?  Call me today for a consultation.  225-978-6688

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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