Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 52

Investing in Real Estate - Three Excellent Reasons

by Bill Arey

For those of you that are considering investing in real estate I will discuss three reasons that I know, based on my experience, make investing in real estate something that you should give serious consideration to. 

Reason 1 - Someone (your tenants) will be BUYING YOU A HOUSE! I bought my first rental house October 7, 2005 for $121,500. With closing and settlement costs my initial cash investment was probably around $30,000 - keep that number in mind.  Fast forward to the present............the fair Market value is now approx $140,000 and the mortgage balance has been reduced to $63,000.....and I haven't been paying the mortgage each month - my tenants have. If I were to sell the house now (after paying realtor professional fess and settlement costs) I would net approx $70,000. So the inital $30K will have grown to $70,000..........not bad, but that's not that exciting. Now if I stay the course for another 6.5 years when the mortgage balance will be paid off and assuming the house appreciates in value 1.5-2% a year......the inital $30K investment will have grown to $150,000. Now THAT is pretty exciting!

Reason 2 - FREE CASH FLOW. Free cash flow is what is left over after you collect the monthly rent (A), pay the monthly mortgage note (B), and retain the balance (C) other words  A - B = C.  In my real world example I collect $1,250 per month rent, the monthly note is approx $950, leaving $300 per month free cash flow. REAL WORLD CONFESSION - there will be additional costs that come up from time to time and sometime you may go a month or two without a tenant. So to be very conservative, let's say that 50% of the free cash flow will be put aside for maintainence and vacancy contingency and 50% put into another account. The other account might be a college tution fund. So again in my case, 50% of $300 ($150) per month is put in a contingency account and $150 is put in a college tuition account. $150 x 12 months = $1,800........that doesn't seem like much - but over 13.5 years it comes to $24,300. If I stay the course another 6.5 years the amount will be $36,000. So after a total of 20 years of someone else paying the mortgage AND providing a modest monthly free cash flow, the inital $30,000 has grown a value of over $180,000! I can't think of a better way to fund a child's future college tuition cost than investing in a quality rental property and finance it with a 15 - 20 year mortgage.

Reason 3 - TAX BENEFITS and DIVERSIFICATION of INVESTMENT ASSETS - ok......that's actually two reasons. I'm not going to go into detail on these factors. I would suggest you consult with your tax advisor and or financial advisor and discuss these additional reasons. The short answer is: there are tax benefits for property depreciation, insurance cost, maintenance cost, etc......additionally investing in real estate can provide stability and security in your overall investment portfolio. 

For professional advice on investing in residential real estate contact a real estate professional at The Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First.   

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

RE/MAX First




Little Free Libraries

by Bill Arey

The first Little Free Library was built in 2009 by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin. He mounted a wooden container designed to look like a one-room school house on a post on his lawn and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher. Todd shared his idea with his partner, Rick Brooks, and the idea spread rapidly - soon becoming a worldwide sensation. Little Free Library officially incorporated on May 16,2012 and the IRS officially recognized Little Free Library as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in the same year.  The original goal was to create 2,150 Little Free Libraries. This number was chosen because it would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of November 2016, there were 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide. There are many Little Free Libraries in Baton Rouge. 225 Magazine published an excellent article about Baton Rouge's Little Free Libraries 4/27/2016. To read the article click: BR Little Free Libraries


Bill Arey  REALTOR

RE/MAX First  The Pat Wattam Team

225-291-1234   225-298-6900

Baton Rouge Flood Information and Resources

by Pat Wattam

The Pat Wattam Team has compiled a wealth of resources to assist those affected by the flood. Our Baton Rouge Flooding page is now up and contains information on disaster relief, volunteering and donations, school information, contractors, debris removal and more. If you need home repair, we have people we can put you in touch with. If you need to make a home purchase or find a place to rent immediately, we can help

Our goal is to assist the community by continuously updating this page with current resources for those in need in Baton Rouge. If you are looking for resources to assist you or someone you know who has been affected by the flood, visit the page here and check our blog frequently as we will be updating it with useful information for our community.


New City Ordinances Help Those Impacted by Flooding

by Pat Wattam

Four ordinances were authorized by the Metro Council yesterday to help those impacted by the flood. The following information has been provided by the City of Baton Rouge...

"1) TEMPORARY HOUSING ORDINANCE AND UDC WAIVERS: Waiving and suspending enforcement of certain provisions of the City-Parish Code of Ordinances and the Unified Development Code regarding temporary housing, parking of motor homes on residential streets, parking in the grass, and single-family occupancy of dwellings for a limited period of time in response to the emergency created by the historic flooding in order to preserve the public peace, health and safety. More info:

2) TEMPORARY NOISE ORDINANCE WAIVERS: Waiving the provisions of the City-Parish noise ordinance so as to allow construction work in or adjacent to a residential area from 5:00 a.m. until sunset on weekdays and Saturdays for a period of 90 days. More info:

3) TEMPORARILY WAIVING PERMIT FEES FOR STRUCTURES DAMAGED BY THE FLOOD: Amending relevant ordinances so as to waive permit fees on property damaged during the 2016 flood. More info:

4) CITY-PARISH ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE POLICY CHANGES: Granting administrative leave with pay to employees who are unable to report to work due to the state of emergency, under certain circumstances and approved by the employee’s appointing authority. More info: "

If you are looking for resources to assist you or someone you know who has been affected by the 2016 Baton Rough Flood, please visit our blog as we will be updating it with useful information for our community. You can to click here to visit our blog.

Information courtesy of

Mold Testing Tips

by Pat Wattam

Take care of the following before you put sheetrock back up...

1. Do a moisture test on the studs and any wood

2. Do a mold test - takes several days to get results.

The level of drying needed before rebuilding according to FEMA is as follows:

> 20% = wet, no good
15-20% = partially dry, caution
< 15% = dry, ok

Putting up sheet rock too soon can result in mold growing behind the sheetrock, then coming through the sheet rock, and then you have a SERIOUS and EXPENSIVE repair to do. Kevin Dinkel of Advantage Services is continually putting up helpful videos on his Facebook page here. Visit the website: for more information or call (225) 753-8114. Advantage Services offers home inspections, moisture tests, mold tests, termite inspection and treatments. I believe we have lots of good inspectors in Baton Rouge to help everyone with this.

If you are looking for resources to assist you or someone you know who has been affected by the 2016 Baton Rough Flood, please visit our blog as we will be updating it with useful information for our community. You can to click here to visit our blog.

I have lived in Baton Rouge all my life and have experienced all the hurricanes that have come through here since the late 1950's. The Greater Baton Rouge area has NEVER experienced anything like "The Great Flood of 2016". I can also say that I have never been prouder of how the citizens of south Louisiana have responded to their neighbors in need. 

More information is coming out daily on what to do to start rebuilding your home. Below is information on loan program available through the FHA to enable homeowners and home buyers to repair flood damaged homes. 


What is the FHA 203h Loan?

The FHA 203(h) program allows FHA-qualified lenders to offer FHA loans specifically to those who have either lost their homes in the disaster or have had extensive damage to the home. The FHA rules for 203(h) loans say, “Individuals are eligible for this program if their homes are located in an area that was designated by the President as a disaster area…(these) mortgages may be used to finance the purchase or reconstruction of a one-family home that will be the principal residence of the homeowner.”

These loans are no-downpayment mortgages and borrowers may apply for 100% financing of the loan. The FHA requirements for these home loans also includes, “Closing costs and prepaid expenses must be paid by the borrower in cash or paid through premium pricing or by the seller, subject to a 6 percent limitation on seller concessions.”

How does the FHA 203(h) Loan Program Work?

The FHA 203(h) mortgage insurance program for disaster victims was created to help victims in Presidentially designated disaster areas get back on their feet. Its purpose is to help those victims become home owners or for those who previously owned a home in the disaster area, to rebuild or purchase a new home.

Like all of the FHA mortgage insurance programs, the FHA 203(h) program reduces lender risk by insuring mortgages made to disaster victims against default by the borrower. This makes mortgages for borrowers in these disaster struck areas more available.

The FHA 203(h)-insured loan offers many of the same benefits as the FHA’s 203(b) mortgage loan and more. Some features of this program for disaster victims are:

  • No down payment:  Unlike the 203(b) mortgage, borrowers with loans insured under Section 203(h) are eligible for 100% financing.
  • Limited Fees:  Many of the fees normally charged by lenders for conventional mortgages are capped under the FHA program. Other fees like property appraisal and inspection fees are actually set by the FHA.
  • Loan Limits:  HUD sets FHA loan limits ($271,050 in the Greater Baton Rouge area) depending on the area where the property is located.

All of these features help to make home ownership more obtainable for individuals in areas struck by disasters.

Applying for an FHA 203(h)-Insured Loan

Again, if your home was severely damaged or destroyed in an area that was subsequently declared a Federal disaster area by the President then you are eligible to apply for assistance under this program. Application for an FHA 203(h) loan must be made within one year of the area being declared a disaster area.


Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First  


The Highest and Best Use? - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Bill Arey

Whenever I drive by this location near the intersection of Old Hammond Hwy and Jefferson Hwy I think back on what used to be at this very location. This location was the epicenter for fine dining in Baton Rouge when I was growing up. I found this brief history in the Baton Rouge Business Report - In 1973 Charles Brandt opened Chalet Brandt, a refined gourmet restaurant, and for the next 30 years the restaurant would serve as one of Baton Rouge’s finest dining establishments. Known for its traditional French cuisine, Chalet Brandt was beloved by locals and renowned for its top-flight service and elegance. In 1995 Brandt sold the restaurant to his son Eric, who continued to operate it until its closing in 2002.  

The original Chalet Brandt building was demolished some years ago and on the site a new restaurant was built - the architectural design is garish and shabby chic. It doesn't strike me as the best and highest use of this once hallowed ground to fine dining.

Bill Arey   REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

Over the long run real estate values have a history of going up in cities and towns enjoying growth and healthy economies. I looked at three of south Baton Rouge's most popular residential areas - Southdowns, Capital Heights, and Roseland Terrace (City Park/Garden District) to see how property values have done in the last almost 20 years. Our local MLS has data going back to 1997. The average $$ per sq ft in these three areas was around $65-$75 per sq ft in 1997. By 2015 the average $$ per sq ft had grown to approximately $165 pre sq ft. If you would like to know the trends in your neighborhood give me a call at The Pat Wattam Team  225-298-6900.

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First


Knock Knock Children's Museum - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Bill Arey


Construction of the Knock Knock Children's Museum is coming along. It will be a great addition to the community - located near City Park. The website for the museum says "Knock Knock Children’s Museum is a community spark for engaging, playful learning experiences that inspire and support lifelong learning."


The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

3 Staging Tips - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Blake Hanna

3 Staging Tips


  1. It's a good idea to de-clutter your house. We recommend using plastic bins to put items away. Go through your house and pack away things you don't need, don't use and clean areas that are messy. Clean off counters and tables throughout the house so that only the necessities remain.

  2. It's also a good idea to de-personalize the house. It's okay to have a few family items but the majority should be put away. A few pictures is all you need. You want to give the person viewing your house the idea that it could be their house.

  3. Curb Appeal and First Impressions are important. And the very first impression they receive is when they pull into your driveway.If you have children, clean up their toys. If you have shrubs, prune them. Lay fresh mulch. Put some grass seed on the bare spots in your yard. Paint your foundation. Plant some flowers. After all, you pull into your driveway almost everyday of your life.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 52




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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