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Autumn in Baton Rouge

by Leslie Green

As the weather in Baton Rouge insists on remaining a bit warm, I continue to walk my neighborhood observing the subtle changes of autumn. The state tree, the bald cypress, is actually one of the more noticeable, changing from dark green to bright orange, and the numerous satsuma trees are beginning to show ripe orange fruit. There is also the regular appearance of white pelicans during their migrations. A huge flock has taken up residence on the University Lakes near my house in the last couple of weeks. It’s amazing watching hundreds of pelicans wheeling in the sky!


Pelicans over University Lakes

 

 

Baton Rouge Green has a wonderful event each year at the beginning of December to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Residents who have citrus trees in their yards can sign up to have some of their fruit picked by volunteers. All the fruit is then donated to the food bank. This year the event will be held on Saturday Dec. 9, 2017. 

 

Check out BR Green’s web site for more details: http://batonrougegreen.com/2017/11/02/almost-pickin-time-sign-up-for-the-pick-event-dec-9th/

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 http://www.BatonRougeRealEstate.com/blog  or give us a call at the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First.  225-298-6900!!

Wild Foxes at LSU Lakes

by Leslie Green

I was just telling Pat a couple of days ago how much I enjoy walking around the LSU lakes near my home. I always see some interesting wildlife, mostly birds like ducks, egrets, and herons. Plus there are many beautiful houses along the lake with flower gardens and giant live oak trees. 


Live Oak Tree at LSU Lakes


Today as I was walking past the LSU President’s House on Lakeshore Dr I noticed some creature curled up on the front lawn. And then it stood up and I realized I was looking at a fox! And then another fox came running across the lawn. They seemed unfazed by the presence of a human nearby, though they did keep their distance.


 Wild Fox at LSU Lakes


Researchers at the LSU School of Coast & Environment have posted signs in the area asking the community to take pictures and either tag on Instagram or post to their Facebook page with the location. They have also posted signs with information about foxes and asking that people please NOT leave dog or cat food out for the foxes. 



 

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!!!

Theatre in the Baton Rouge Area June 2017

by Pat Wattam

We are so lucky to have so much local theatre in our area.  June 2017 had Beauty and the Beast performed by Theatre Baton Rouge on the Main Stage located at 7155 Florida Blvd.  Tickets on sale now.  theatrebr.org

Then just south of Baton Rouge in Gonzales Ascension Community Theatre is performing Rock of Ages in the Pasqua Theatre at 823 Felicity St, Gonzales.  225-647-1236.

Don't say you don't have anywhere to go this June!  Enjoy some live theatre and support our local companies!

Do ALL Sellers WIN in a Sellers Market?

by Pat Wattam

Much of the country is experiencing a shortage of available Listings in their real estate Market - a shortage of homes for the buyers to choose from - and each home may receive multiple offers!  I discussed in my last blog how a buyer can structure their offer to WIN in a multiple offer situation.  Remember. all real estate is local so I can only really give advice for my area in the Greater Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes.

So, to the answer to the question - Do All Sellers Win in a Sellers Market in the Baton Rouge Real Estate area - the short answer is NO!  

Don't be too surprised. As I stated earlier, real estate is hyper local.  There are price ranges where the inventory is very low and I am receiving offers on these homes in the first 2 days - multiple offers.  But all of these homes were  in Tip Top condition, staged well, no clutter.  I have seen homes in these same price ranges languish for weeks because they were really not ready for the market and the market responded with a 'NO" to that house.  

I have homes in higher price ranges where there are plenty of homes and the buyers can be very picky as they have ample inventory to select from.  These homes cannot afford to not be in PERFECT condition.  Yes, the buyer wants new carpet and NO, they do not want an allowance.  They want to see and smell that new carpet when they walk in the door.  They don't want WALL PAPER!  You can price your house lower to accomodate some updates but honestly, most buyers don't have the time, or extra cash, to do the updating the house has needed for years.  And due to the flood it is hard for them to even consider getting a contractor to help them.  Of course, there are always exceptions.  If you have dogs, then the buyer would rather you put in carpet after you have moved - and this is when an allowance would probably work!

When contemplating selling your home, talk with an expert first.  Someone who can guide you through the process.  Of course, I prefer if you call on us, the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First!!  We'lre here to help!

Nobody Is Buying My House!!!

by Pat Wattam

How many times have I heard a seller say "Nobody is making an offer on my house", or "They can always make an offer - why don't they?"

Here's the deal, plain and simple.  Location and price brings in the buyer.  Price and condition will sell the home.  So with proper marketing you will have people looking at your home.  But then, what is stopping them from making an offer?  PRICE!!  If you house is $40K over priced because of location, condition, or the Market, MOST buyers don't want to 1.  Insult the seller  2.  Make an offer to a seller who is unrealistic on their priceing and therefore can't sell because they may owe too much or won't sell at the market price because they don't have to.  The buyer just moves on to the next house.

Let's say your house is priced right, you get lots of showings, and no offers.  Sometimes the feedback from other agents say it all such as:  "Nice home but buyer put in an offer on another house".  That sentence tells me that 1.  The buyer found a home in better condition for the same price  2.  The buyer found a larger home in the same condition for the same price.  It all boils down to PRICE in the end.  

But sometimes Price alone won't make a buyer make a move unless it is a drastic price reduction.  The buyers don't have the money to fix or update a new house, or they just don't want to, OR, in a good market, there are other homes to buy and they just move one.

If you are unsure how to proceed as a seller to get your home ready for market, just give us a call.  We'll show you what you need to focus on to get you that sale on your house for the best price!!!

Real Estate Market Stats February 2017 East Baton Rouge Parish

by Pat Wattam

Here is the latest Market report on East Baton Rouge Parish.  You will notice the highest number of sales continues to be in the $200-300K price range.

http://www.realmarketreports.com/reports/LA05005_South_East_Baton_Rouge.pdf

We also notice that the homes have to be in very good, updated condition to sell for top dollar, even with the low inventory in the market.  Buyers appear to be willing to wait for the better homes to come on the market rather than settle for one that is not quite up to par.  
If you are thinking about selling your home, contact us to help you decide what the house needs to get you top dollar without spending a lot!  Call the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First anytime at 225-298-6900!

How to Structure Your Offer to Win in a HOT MARKET!

by Pat Wattam

Are you trying to purchase a home in a HOT REAL ESTATE Market where there are multiple offers on the homes you want to buy?  If so, I have these great tips for you.

1.  Bring your highest offer first.  Many agents think that if there are multiple offers on a house, the listing agent and seller will counter all of them asking for 'highest and best' offer to let everyone have a shot.  THIS IS NOT TRUE!  If the sellers have one offer that stands out from the rest, they may not counter everybody else and risk losing an offer they are happy with.  HOW MUCH OVER LIST PRICE SHOULD YOU OFFER?  Well, each market is different.  In the Greater Baton Rouge Market, typically agents will get their buyers to offer $1000 over list price.  That won't cut it in a multiple offer situation.  We just had one with 4 offers.  The one that won offered $10K over list price.  The sellers did not counter the other 4.

2.  Know what closing time frame works best for the seller and make that work for you.  if they want to close in 2 weeks, make sure your loan is already approved, just waiting for the appraisal to be ordered.

3.  Do not have any other  conditions such as:  Do Not make the offer Subject to any inspections.  I know, you don't know what you are buying but if you really want to WIN, you have to give this up.  Do not make it subject to appraisal.   This means if you offer $10K over, you need to have that as cash in your account to pay the difference between the appraised value and what you offer.  You REALLY need to want to win in order to give up both of these.  After Hurricane Katrina when the inventory was so low, thesse are the things buyers gave up in order to even purchase a house.

 What if you don't have the extra cash or need closing cost assistance.  Then  you have to find a home that no one has purchased, that has been on the market for a while.  Maybe it's over priced.  Maybe it needs updates.  Maybe it's not the area you really want to live in.  In a hot market, if you can't do the 3 items I listed above, then you have to make adjustments somewhere.

The Pat Wattam Team knows how to structure offers.  Let us help you find the home you want and help you win it!

How to Select a Home Lender in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

One of the first steps in thinking about purchasing a home is to select a lender.  That can be a daunting prospect if you have never purchased a home before.  Every lender will have different criteria, such as credit scores, that they will accept to do a home loan. Each lender may have different programs than others.  Others are mortgage brokers who shop for the best deal for you.  So where do you start?

1.  If you have a REALTOR, ask them for names of lenders they have worked with whom they liked.   If they like the lender, I guarentee you the loan closed and they had happy buyers.

2.  Ask friends for recommendations.  Your friends who have bought more than one house may have more than one recommendation for you.

3.  On line lenders - STAY AWAY FROM THESE!  Especially if you are a first time home buyer or have any issues, you want someone you can talk to face to face, someone who is easy to reach (most local lenders give you their cell phone number).

How do you select the one you want to work with?  Remember, it isn't always about who has the best rate.  The difference of 1/8th percent isn't really a deciding factor.  You want to work with the lender that you feel a connection with, one that explains the process and stays in touch timely. 

At the Pat Wattam Team we have a number of lenders we regularly refer business too.  Give us a call and we'll help you get started!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 108

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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