Real Estate Information Archive


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Home Maintenance

by Blake Hanna

Your home needs regular maintenance to stay in best condition

Here are some items for interior and exterior maintenance


  • 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.


  • 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


[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.


Getting Your House Ready to Sell(Exterior)

by Blake Hanna

Have you thought about how to make your house stand out from the rest? A house with great curb appeal catches the eye of buyers. Having excellent landscaping can get a buyer to  bring you a higher offer. Having colorful plants or flowers, flower beds with fresh mulch, pruned trees, and edged grass around the walkways and sidewalks will really the front of your house look great.

Just becasue your front yard looks great doesn't mean you can neglect the backyard. The back should be landscaped to the same caliber. 

Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team 

RE/MAX First

Direct - (225) 298-6903

Saving on Energy Costs as a Homeowner

by Blake Hanna

The following tips are just a few ways to keep your home energy costs down


Cooling and Heating

  • Install and use ceiling fans. Fans are a great replacement for using air conditioners, which use a lot of energy.
  • Air Filters should be replaced in heaters and air conditioners regular basis.
  • Turn the thermostat down at night or when no one is home.
  • Install a programmable thermostate to help regulate the temperature.

Attic Insulation

  • Make sure an adequate amount of insulation is installed
  • Replace any damaged insulation


  • Check under all sinks and faucets to make sure there are no leaks
  • Make sure there are no tiolets sonstantly running.

Energy Efficient Bulbs

  • CFL and LED light bulbs are more energy efficient and have longer lives.

Windows and Doors

  • Use caulk to seal all edges and cracks of your windows
  • Apply weatherstrips to your doors

Responsible Use

  • Turn of lights when they are not needed
  • Turn of computers when they are not in use
  • Unplug chargers when not in use, as they continue to consume energy even when not plugged into your device.



 Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team

       RE/MAX First


[email protected]

Home Maintenance Resolutions

by Debbie Hanna

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year when most of us make our thoughtful resolutions to lose weight or make some improvements to our personal and/or business life. I have another thought.  If you are a home owner, maybe it’s time to make some Home Maintenance Resolutions. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Regular maintenance may prevent costly repairs in the future! Here are several Home Maintenance items to incorporate into your monthly or annual checklist:

  • Bi-annual HVAC maintenance
  • Change air filters every 3 months
  • Test smoke alarms & carbon monoxide detectors - replace batteries if necessary
  • Replace inefficient weather stripping on front and back doors
  • Clean dryer exhaust vent
  • Chimney inspected and cleaned if necessary
  • Clean gutters & downspouts
  • Inspect roof for missing, damaged or lifted shingles
  • Caulk around tubs, showers & sinks
  • Caulk around doors and windows
  • Check caulking between adjacent materials like brick/wood, wood/stucco, etc
  • Repair or replace damaged or missing screens
  • Check for peeling or cracked paint
  • Wash all windows
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom drains
  • Clean appliances - stove,oven, microwave, refrigerator
  • Trim tree limbs away from the roof
  • Fire Extinguishers – check that they are fully charged or replace, if necessary

Debbie Hanna, Realtor

Landscaping Tips

by Pat Wattam

As people spend more and more time in their backyards with their backyard kitchens, pools, etc, not to mention front load garages, we are seeing more and more people spending less money on their front yard and more on their back.  While this makes some sense - you see your backyard typically for longer periods of time that the front - which you basically see when you drive in, but the front yard does make a statement about your house.  And when your house is for sale, this is particularly important.  

So, if your house is for sale, we need color in the front - color to attract people and get their attention. Red is always eye catching, as are other bright colors.  You need to pack the color together so that it makes a statement


Note how the yellow flowers are bunched together so they make a statement - the bright colored azaleas.  This draws a lot of attention to the front of the house with not a lot of expense.

Not what a statement the yellow flowers make when bunched up. 

So, when thinking about making a statement in the front yard, you don't have to spend a lot of money, but carefully choose color and pack it in tightly!

Are Open Houses A Thing of the Past

by Pat Wattam

When I was a new agent, I spent most Sunday's holding open house.  Sometimes at new construction, sometimes at an existing home.  Since I was new to Baton Rouge and didn't know a lot of people, it was one of the few ways I had of meeting people.  In fact, I pretty much built my real estate business by holding open houses.  In all that time, I sold very few of my listings from open house.  In today's internet age, are Open Houses a thing of the past? 

As a buyer, they are still very helpful in learning about homes and prices - things you can do online as well but a lot more fun in person!  Of course, not all homes are held open so the BEST way to find a house is to have your Realtor (one of my team members, of course!) do the research on what you want and help you find the right house!!  So why not do all your searching online instead of in person?  Online you can't really see what the subdivison looks like, if the neighbors have a barking dog, if the neighor keeps up their lawn, and if the subdivision has a nice, well kept look - which helps a subdivision hold it's value. 

On my team, we look a many houses every week and can shorten the time it takes you to find the right house because we have probably already shown it to another client!  This is why a Buyer Counseling Interview is so important.  It gives us a chance to really find out what you are looking for in a home so that we can do the research for you.

As a seller, is holding your home open a good way to find buyers?  Well, as you can see from above, the odds are not favorable that a buyer will come to open house and buy your house.  BUT, if it isn't the home for them, if they like it, they might tell a friend about it!  Less than 1% of the people who come to open house actually buy the open house.  But, it's your call on that.  We use is as a marketing tool to get out word on our Listings and to give it extra exposure,

To conclude, open houses are still viable for buyers and sellers, but the best source of finding a house for buyers is working with a good Realtor.  And, for a seller, an Agent who uses many different marketing strategies will get their house sold in the least amount of time and for the most money!  Call the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First today!  

Want to Sell Your House in 30 Days?

by Pat Wattam

As an agent who has been in business for 30 years and have listed and sold over 1000 homes, I thought I would share some tips that make some homes sell in 30 days or less!  And why is that important?  People who sell their home in 30 days or less are the ones who actually get TOP DOLLAR for their home.

1.  Be committed to Selling.   Don't 'test' the Market, or think "We aren't in a hurry", or my favorite "We're not going to GIVE it away", oh, or "If it's meant to will sell!"   These responses are not from sellers who want to sell their home in 30 days.

2.  Be willing to PRICE the home AT market value.  If you are priced under market, and your house is in demand by the public, then multiple offers will drive the price up.  If you are priced at market value and still have to negotiate, you weren't really at market value.

3.  DO NOT have ANY obstacles or handicaps to showing the house, which means you must have a sign and a lockbox, let the neighbors know the house is for sale,  vacate the house for showings, make the house available to be shown at any time, and definitely do not require 24 hour notice, 

4. Be willing to STAGE the house.  People love model homes because they present an idealized vision of what it would be like to live in this house.  Making minor cosmetic improvements can make a house show in it's best light.

5.  Help me find your buyer.  Take flyers to all the places you go that has a bulletin board!  Put on social networks.  Let all your friends know!

Homes that are in the BEST condition, priced right, and readily available will quickly attract those buyers who have been looking for a house and have been unsuccessful.  When your house hits the market, these buyers are READY to buy NOW - and if your house fits the bill, then, BOOM, SOLD in 30 days!!!

Check out my FREE reports for more information on getting your home ready to sell!

Call me today to evaluate your home's 30 day "saleability"!  

225-298-6900 Direct line!


Landscaping Tips To Help Sell Your Home

by Pat Wattam


Having curb appeal can either improve or diminish the chances of selling your home. That’s why the first impression of a home is essential in getting a potential home buyer's attention. Your landscaping can be the advertisement that gets the buyer in your door. If the buyer likes the outside of the home, they will be more inclined to see the inside. Did you know that having a well maintained landscape can add up to 10% to the value of your home. I hope these tips will be of use to you.

YOUR LAWN Cleaning up the lawn should be the first thing you do when working with your landscaping. Why? Grass takes the longest time to perfect or improve. Healthy green grass is the first thing that will attract a potential home buyer. If your landscape isn't maintained, it may drastically alter their opinion. They may even think they the inside of your home matches the outside. You also want to make sure you keep leaves and debris picked up and just keep the appearance clean in general. If you have brown patches, rake it and seed it until you have the desired effect. If your yard is in really bad shape, you may want to consider hiring a landscaping professional.

TRIMMING An easy way to clean up your landscaping is to trim any trees, bushes, or shrubs you may have. This can be very important in making the architecture of your home a high point. It will also keep your plants healthier.

COLOR Having color will help attract attention and help sell your home. Colorful flowers will do the trick. You might want to consider adding mulch to your garden beds. This is an easy and rather inexpensive way to brighten up your landscape. It also can be added very quickly in case you have a home showing coming up.

DECORATION Decorating the entrance is another way to brighten up your home. Place a welcome mat out or add a wreath to your front door. You want the buyers to feel as if they are already at home!

I hope these tips will be of use to you when selling your home.






Top Ten Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax

by Pat Wattam

Got this info sheet from the National Association of Realtors explaining the 3.8% Tax on Real Estate.  


1.  When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will NOT be subject to this tax.

2.  The 3.8% tax will NEVER be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you'll NEVER pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

3.  You'll NEVER pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property.  Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year's gross income.

4.  If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home.   If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return.  Even then if your total income including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will NOT pay this tax.  If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.  

5.  The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate.  If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6.  The tax goes into effect in 2013.  If you have investment income in 2013, you won't pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014.  The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7.  In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you'll NEVER pay this tax, eve if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8.  The formula that determines the amount of the 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax.  For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 38% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9.  It's true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax.  BUT:  The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income:  gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10.  The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010.  It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review.  NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect.  The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.


That's NAR's take on it.  My first thought is that if you aren't making a profit on your rental income, you need to talk to us and let's get you a better rental property!!   And, don't forget to get out and vote in November!


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 28




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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