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Tips on Remediating Flooded Homes and What To Do

by Pat Wattam

To all our friends who are experiencing the horrible flooding from hurricane Harvey I have some tips for you from those who have experienced this before.  Last August (2016) the Baton Rouge Area received 50 inches of rain in 2 days.  A huge area flooded.  We had a rental house flood and  one of the inspectors we use also had a property flooded.

Here's a video of the interview of Kevin Dinkel and Roger Wattam discussing what they did to their properties after the flood. https://www.facebook.com/wattam/videos/10154821602582344/

My good friend and fellow Realtor, Liz Jesse, got tips from her siblings who flooded during hurricane Katrina.  They had some good tips.

And here is my interview with Liz:  https://www.facebook.com/wattam/videos/10154821647502344/

 

If you have any questions on how to proceed don't hesitate to contact us:  pat@patwattam.com or kdinkel@extramileteam.com

 

Our Prayers go out to those affected by this flood.  

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!

Tips on Preparing Home for Sale in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

While at my CyberStar conference this week in Dallas, TX I spend some time speaking with other agents about the trends they see in their Market place on what the seller has to do to get their home ready for market.  In some areas, the market is so hot the seller doesn't really have to do a lot, but most areas are just like us in the Baton Rouge Area, you have to get the home in top condition to even get the buyer to consider your home - no well how well it is priced - unless you just slash the price.  

My friend and fellow Realtor, Brett Ellis in Florida has 15 Tips to Get Your Home Sold.  If you need more ideas on preparing your home to sell, or even pricing your home, I have a set of Real Estate Consumer Videos for you to watch - just log in and select your video. These tips will help you sell your Baton Rouge Real Estate faster!   Watch as much as you want!

Protecting your Baton Rouge home

by Roger Watttam

Protecting your Baton Rouge Home

 

Ever lose those house keys, come up with a key missing, didn’t remember who you had given keys to?   The cost of having a locksmith come to your Baton Rouge home to rekey your locks can be substantial  $50-$120 for the service call, and $25-55 per lock to rekey the existing locks….and if you’re one of us who loses keys frequently...well, you know!!   Several options are available to the homeowner.

 

Smart Key locks.

 “Smart Key” is a registered trademark of Kwikset locks.  The technology is used extensively by residential builders as original equipment in Baton Rouge Real Estate in their Kwikset and Baldwin lock hardware.  These locks are standard hardware that replace existing equipment with little or no door modification needed.   Often, only the deadbolt cylinder and knob are all that are needed if the latch is compatible.

The “Smart Key” allows you rekey the lock yourself.  The process is simple.

  1. Insert your key and turn it ¼ turn to the right
  2. Insert the rekeying tool into the rekeying slot and then remove
  3. Pull the old key straight out without turning it
  4. Insert the new key and turn to the left ½ turn
  5. Turn the new key back to the right ¼ turn and remove

The lock is now rekeyed—takes about 15-20 seconds for each lock and the only extra cost is for the new keys. 

Similar rekey systems are available from Schlage and other lock manufacturers.

Depending on the lockset, these run from $25 to $85.

This system works well for owners of rental properties.

 

Keyless locks.

Eliminate the key entirely and use a 3-5 digit entry code entry code. 

Older, mechanical style locks with push pins are usually restricted to one security code, but don’t require any batteries or hard wiring.

More recent electronic styles allow for up to 30 codes at a time and are powered by batteries (9V of AA) or are hard wired into the house current and have a backup battery.   These are opened with a keypad or, in newer technologies, by cell phone via Bluetooth and will relock themselves after a few seconds.  These fall into the $100-$250 range and most have an “override” key mechanism to use when the electronics fail.

Also available are locks with fingerprint recognition ((Currently in the $500-650 range) but without an override key. 

Contact us at the Pat Wattam Team for more homeowner tips.

You Won't Believe the Uses for WD-40!!

by Pat Wattam

One of my clients, who was getting her house ready to sell, showed me how beautiful her stainless steel appliances were looking.  I asked her what her trick was and she told me WD-40.  Seriously!  When I researched it, I have found that it is supposed to be great on all kinds of things as its basic ingredient is Fish Oil!  

Here is what I found on Snopes.com:

Water Displacement #40. The product began from a search for a rust Preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40. The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you. 

1. Then try it on your stovetop.. Voila! It’s now shinier than it is ever been. You will be amazed. 

2. Shower door - cleans the spotty shower door.  If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass.  it is a miracle! 

3. Protects silver from tarnishing. 

4. Removes road tar and grime from cars. 

5. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings. 

6. Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery. 

7. Keeps flies off cows. 

8. Restores and cleans chalkboards. 

9. Removes lipstick stains. 

10. Loosens stubborn zippers. 

11. Untangles jewelry chains (this one I need to try!)

12. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks. Cleans the fronts of Stainless steel appliances (have personally seen the employees of Lowes use it on their appliances in the store to keep them new looking) 13. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill. 

14. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing. 

15. Removes tomato stains from clothing 

16. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots. 

17. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors. 

18. Keeps scissors working smoothly. 

19. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes. 

20. Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide. 

21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.

22. Rids kid’s rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises. 

23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open. 

24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close. 

25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers. 

26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles. 

27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans. 

28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling. 

29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly. 

30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools. 

31. Removes splattered grease on stove. 

32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging. 

33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs. 

34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell). 

35. Removes all traces of duct tape. 

36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve Arthritis pain. 

37. Florida's favorite use is: "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers." 

38. The favorite use in the state of New York — WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements. 

39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it is a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using Some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states. 

40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch. 

41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag. 

42. Also, if you've discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots withWD-40 and re-wash. Presto! Lipstick is gone! 

43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start. 

44. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks. 

45. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! UseWD-40! 

So, if you have found a use for WD-40 in your household, or if you try any of these, let us know how it turns out.  Just seems amazing that it can do all of that!!!

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.

De-Personalize

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.

De-Clutter

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!

 


Are You Getting Ready to Move?

by Pat Wattam

Moving can be stressful especially if you've lived in your home for a long time!  An efficient, well-managed move not only saves you time and money, it can also make the transition easier.  Below is a checklist that might be helpful:

 

  • Retain a reliable moving company as early as possible.
  • Take a room-by-room inventory of your home.
  • Clean and sort your possessions and set aside unwanted items for a garage sale.
  • Arrange for the shut-off or transfer of your phone and other utilities.
  • Complete the change-of-address kit at your post office.
  • Give your friends and relatives your new address and phone number.

Ways to Improve Your Credit

by Blake Hanna
  1. credit score takes into account years of past behavior.  Still, there are some simple ways to increase your credit score today.
  2. Take These Steps to Improve Your Credit Score
    1. Pay your bills on time. Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on a credit score.
    2. Keep balances low on credit cards and other "revolving credit."  The “credit utilization ratio” should be no more than 30% and ideally even less.
    3. Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.  Don’t open accounts just to have a better credit mix. It probably won’t improve your credit score.
    4. Don't cancel any credit cards. Canceling a credit card will cause your available credit to drop, which doesn’t look good to a bureau. One way to keep a card active is to use it for a recurring charge such as a utility bill.
    5. Pay off debt rather than moving it around.

Blake Hanna, Realtor

225-298-6903

Blake@patwattam.com

Space Heaters

by Pat Wattam

A lot of people use space heaters during the winter months and, if used properly, can be very effective.  Protect your home during the colder months by following these space heater safety measures.

 

  • A space heater with a guard around the flame area or the heating element will help keep children, pets and clothing away from the heat source;
  • Select a space heater that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory;
  • Make sure the space heater is the correct size for the area you want to heat;
  • Always turn the space heater off when you go to sleep or leave the area;
  • Specially designated heating equipment is required for mobile homes.
Stay warm but stay safe!

 

Inexpensive Updates to Make a Kitchen Look Expensive

by Pat Wattam

Looking for ways to update your kitchen without emptying your wallet?  Little things can go a long way!  Consider making some of the changes below:

Update hardware 

Hardware can completely change the look for your cabinets. Replace drawer and cabinet pulls for a new look that instantly updates your entire space. 

Paint a lighter color. 

 A light color on the walls and cabinets instantly brightens a space making it look larger and in turn, more expensive. 

Replace Cabinet Doors

 Replacing old worn out cabinet doors with new ones or sanding and refinishing your old ones will give your kitchen a sleek new look.  Bring in glass, or high-gloss doors or forgo the doors in some areas and create open shelving to show off your nicest pieces. 

Change lighting

Chandeliers and pendents are the perfect accessory to not only brighten your kitchen but change the mood of the space. Standard lights that come in most homes and rentals are uniform, change it up and give the most used room in your house some personality or an unexpected element.  

Use artwork

Artwork is a great way to elevate any room and it will do the same in your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to go big and bold—it will give the illusion of a bigger space. Art is also a great option for renters who don’t have the freedom to change everything they’d like to.   

Paint Your Appliances Stainless Steel. 

Don’t have stainless steel appliances? No problem. Use a paint-on stainless steel finish to update your appliances that still work well but are giving your kitchen a dated feel. Be careful, companies make different types if this liquid stainless steel depending on the appliance and its use. 

Window treatment

Dress up your bare windows to instantly dress up your kitchen.  

Style your breakfast nook

Add throw pillows, a centerpiece and fresh flowers to give your breakfast spot some style. 

Replace an old bowl or decorative elements.  

Change out your fruit bowl with beautiful chinoiserie or a bowl or tray for a subtle change that makes a big difference. 

Hide small appliances

A no-cost trick! Nothing brings down a space more than clutter. Keep your counter space clear of small appliances like toasters, blenders and coffee pots. They are easy enough to take out when you want to use them. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 24

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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