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2936 Lexington Lakes Ave Baton Rouge, LA

by Pat Wattam

BEAUTIFUL home for sale in Lexington Estates! Wonderful combination of elegant style and high tech Smart Home control features. Beautiful lake views. 2936 Lexington Lakes Ave Presented by Bill Arey with the Pat Wattam Team at RE/Max First

Help Your Agent To Win on an Offer! Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Most buyers correctly assume that their real estate agent will do a great job for them in promoting their offer to the sellers agent.  Here are a few tips to help you help your REALTOR put you in the best light for the seller and their agent to take YOUR offer seriously!  These apply mainly to Louisiana but can be relevant in other states too.

As a Listing agent, here are a few things that impress me with an offer, and in a multiple offer situation, will help move you to the head of the list!

1.  Large Deposit.  In Louisiana you don't even have to have a deposit in order to make an offer on a home.  However, as a listing agent, and recently, as a seller myself, I can tell you that the buyer who appears the most serious is the one with a serious deposit.  Some agents don't want to tie up their clients money or they worry that if the buyer does something - as in back out of the sale - then they could lose that money.  Think about it from the seller's standpoint.  You are putting up serious money because you are CONFIDENT that you qualify to purchase the home and are serious about buying it.  Your next question may be - what is a large deposit?  Well, here it's not as large as you would find in any other state!  On a $100K home I would like to see $1000 instead of $250 or $500.  On a $300K home, I would expect to see $2000.  Get the idea?

2.  Put a short deadline for the inspeciton period.  Call your inspector before you make the offer and see when you can schedule and do it then.  You can always cancel and if you cancel quickly your inspector would be o.k.  

3.  Get a true Pre-APPROVAL letter stating that the lender has looked at your credit score, run your info through desktop underwriting, has VERIFIED the information provided, and that your TAX RETURNS have been given to the lender.  These are items that impress me and the sellers out there who understand.

4.  Use a LOCAL lender.  When I see the pre-approval letter by Quicken Loans I want to run.  I have had more of these loans not close than did closes and when we had an issue, it was virtually impossible to have someone to call who could help.

5.  SHORTEN the time for closing.  Don't have a 60 day closing if you want to impress the seller.  In fact, it's a great idea for your agent to call the listing agent and ask what would work for the seller.  Maybe the seller needs time to finish the school year.  Maybe they are in the process of building a house.  Or maybe they have an offer on another house and need to close quickly.  See what they need and try to make it happen for them.  However, if the house is  vacant  and you can close quickly, you might get a better deal on the house.  In a multiple offer situation last week, the buyer who won the deal was the one who could close the fastest.

6.  Realize that when you ask the seller to pay part or all of your closing costs, even at full price, the seller looks at what your net offer is.  In a multiple offer situation the person who asks for no or little closing costs has a better chance of winning.  

7.  If you raise the sales price to cover your closing costs, be aware that if the appraisal comes in short, the seller will delete those closing costs.  By raising the price you have ELECTED to roll the closing costs into  your mortgage.  The seller wants to net whatever  you all agreed the net offer would be.  So if you offer $205,000 on a $200K house, and want $7000 closing costs, the net offer to the seller is $198K.  If the appraisal comes in at $202K then the seller is only going to give you $4000 closing and you need to have a source ready to cover any shortfall.  Some people think because the seller agreed to all those closing costs that they should still pay for them.  In a hot Market, they may have a back up offer that you are not even aware of and they will bump you off the contract.  Always have a contingency plan for your closing costs!

8.  DO NOT ASSUME that the seller will counter ALL the offers at once in a multiple offer situation.  And on a house that just came on the market, don't make a low offer or ask for a lot of closing costs.  If it is a great house, then you might not even be aware there are other offers  - especially if the other offers are significantly better than yours.  

 

I hope these ideas will help you help your agent when you are negotiating on your new home.  And if you don't have an agent to help you, we would love to be your REALTORS!!!

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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!

Baton Rouge Louisiana is a Wonderful Place To Call Home

by Pat Wattam

In light of the events one week ago today I wanted to take a moment to talk about this wonderful place we call home, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   The senseless attack and murder of our policeman and deputies have brought this commuity together, instead of tearing it apart.  I had just sold a home in the subdivision, and across the street, from police office Matthew Gerald.  The first memorial service to him was on his street, his life celebrated by his neighbors.   In this modest neighborhood neighbors gathered together to surround his family with love and support.  

The location where the ambush occurred has become a shrine to the fallen heroes with flowers and memorials piling up.  I stopped by today and met 3 formally dressed Idaho State Police.  People were coming up to them, hugging them, and speaking with them.  I had hoped to meet a chaplin from New Jersey that had been there all week to meet and pray with people.  Unfortunately, he was not there today.

The outpouring of love for our fallen heroes can be seen as each funeral procession proceeds down the main highways lined with thousands of mourners - some who stood in the heat and then the pouring rain for hours waiting for the procession to come by so they could honor our fallen protectors.  Hundreds of officers from across the United States also came to pay their respects.

You would think this was a small town as this is what would have happened in my home town of Ozark, AR - population 3500.  But this is a huge city and people all have the same common goal - to show the solidarity of our city, to back our first responders.  We bury one more tomorrow and start the healing process. The community has come together to financially support the families as well as the one officer we have who is still struggling for his life.  What a lovely show of support.  You should see the streets lined in blue, LSU Stadium lit in blue, etc.

                       

 

  

Steps in Selling a House - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

It came to my attention a couple of times this week that the sellers don't really understand the steps in the home selling process and I suspect it is because we all assume that a home seller is more knowledable than a first time buyer because they have been through the process.  And yet, if you only sell a house every 10 years or so, you really don't remember the steps.  So, here is my simplified version of what happens!

1.  Select your REALTOR

2.  With REALTORS suggestions, stage and price the house

3.  REALTOR markets house

4.  Buyers come with their REALTOR to see the house

5.  Seller receives feedback from those showings and makes changes based on comments, if necessary

6.  Sellers accepts offer on house - When this happens, the house is considered PENDING and is basically off the Market

7. Buyer makes loan application and orders inspection and lender SHOULD ORDER APPRAISAL

8.  Home inspection takes place

9.  All parties agree to repairs on home inspection and sale moves forward.  If no agreement, then sale falls through and house goes back on the market.  (On a 10 day inspection this whole process can take up to 16 days)

10.  Appraisal should take place (If you let you lender wait until AFTER the inspection process to ORDER the appraisal, the appraisal can delay your closing as it can take up to 2 weeks to get this done, especially in the summer)

11.  Final underwriting approval

12.  Closing docs avaiable 3 days prior to closing.

13.  Closing - this is where the buyer gets key and the seller gets their money

14.  Move out

It is so crucial to have a good REALTOR and a good LOCAL lender to make sure that things stay on schedule.  

What Is a Home Buyer Consultation? Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Pat Wattam

What is a home buyer consultation and do you need one?

A Home Buyer Consultation is at the core of what we do for buyers on the Pat Wattam Team.  A home buyer consultation is the time for us to educate you about the home buying process, the real estate Market, what to expect, and how things are going to work.  It also gives you a chance to meet an agent before committing to work with them.  A good home buyer consultation will discuss a few of the legal parts of the home purchase but is mainly to share with you some personal insite the agent has into the market. Perhaps you have purchased a home before.  You know how the process works.  Do you still need a consultation?   Would you agree our real estate market today is probably different from one 10 years ago?  At the height of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina prices were high and sellers were not flexible at all. Then came the bubble of 2008 - which, incidentially, did not affect us here very much - or would not have if it had not been for the scare stories from across the country - but sellers became more flexible.  Today's market has hot spots where homes have multiple offers and you have to go above full price to win the house, and other homes that take some time to sell.  You need to know this information as a buyer because it will affect what you will have to pay for a home in each scenario.  If you need to sell your home in order to buy, we know how to orchestrate that for you and that is something we would need to also discuss in depth.  

A few other topics we cover in our home buyer consultation:

1.  How we work

2.  What's your timeline and how to determine it

3.  How to protect yourself from costly home repairs

4.  How many homes should you look at

5.  What to expect from a home inspection

6.  How to determine how much you can afford

7.  How much money you need and when you need it

8.  What type of loan is best for you

9.  What homes are available based on your criteria

10.  Realistic expectations explained regarding the market and financing

If you are ready to take the first step, give us a call at the Pat Wattam Team

to set up your FREE Home Buyer Consultation!  

225-978-6688 or 225-298-6900

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!

How To Win in a Multiple Offer Situation - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

What do you do, as a buyer, when you find yourself competing with another buyer for the same house?  This is a multiple offer situation.  Some buyers get scared and back out of the bidding process.  That's fine if there are plenty of other houses out there that meet your needs.  But when if the inventory is low?  Or what if this is the perfect home for you?  How can you stack the cards in your favor?  

First, you need a REALLY good REALTOR to help you.  In Baton Rouge I know that as a listing agent, one of the first things I look at is when I am presenting multiple offers to my seller is who is the agent writing the offer.  Does that agent have a track record of closing properties or do their deals typically fall through.  2nd, I look at who the lender is.  Is it a lender I have had good success with or is it a lender who gives a pre-qual letter that means nothing and I have experienced deals that fell through.  And speaking of the pre-qualifying letter, what does it say?  Has the lender verified your credit?  Your income?  Your cash available for closing?  How strong is your letter?  Has the lender run your file through desktop underwriting?  These things are important when you are in a multiple offer situation.   A strong letter from your lender can make all the difference!  

Now, the other parts of the purchase agreement that are pretty obvious are - what's your offer?  Go in with your best offer.  Don't be afraid to go above list price and, KEY WORDS, don't make the offer subject to appraisal.  That means, if the house doesn't appraised for your offer, you have to pay the difference out of pocket.  I had one the other day where the buyer had to pay $7,000 over list because the backup offer we had was willing to pay $10K over list price!!

Another place you can tighten up a purchase agreement to make a seller look favorable on you would be a short time for the inspection process.  It would be smart to call your inspector and get on his schedule before you have an acceptance so that you can have something attractive to offer a seller.

There are a few other things we have up our sleeves to help you win an offer.  Like I said, when in this situation, you need a good REALTOR to advise you!!  Call us any time!  

Baton Rouge Home Sellers Pricing Issues

by Pat Wattam

One of the hardest concepts for a seller to grasp is pricing their home for sale.  They hear that the Baton Rouge Real Estate Market is a sellers' market and that is a signal that they can price the home however they want to get the price the NEED.  One client said to me the other day that they would not take a penny less than $X, even through the comps didn't support that price in any way.  They NEEDED that money in order to move.  I know that a buyer doesn't care how much money a seller needs.  More importatly, the lender doesn't care how much money the seller needs.  The band wants to make sure that IF the buyer defaults and the bank gets the house back, that the value is there to sell it again.  The buyer just needs the house to appraise for the sales price so that they can close. So, it all falls on the appraiser.  What does an appraiser look for when trying to find value?  They look for 3 homes that are 1.  Hopefully in the same subdivision or in one nearby with the same type of home  2.  Homes with similiar amenities  3.  Homes that have closed in the last 6 months at a maximum.   As the seller pointed out to me the other day, this home had more amenities than any other house in the area.  And if you have a very unique home in a neighborhood of other unique homes, then many times the appraiser can stretch their criteria to find value.   But if you own a traditional house, in a typical subdivision, the subdivision has a CAP on how much homes will sell for.  You can have a home twice as large as any other house in the subdivision but that will not bring you twice as much on the sales price because the house no longer fits with the homes in the subdivision and that can backfire on you.  

So, how is a seller to determine value?  You have to know what homes in your subdivsion historically sell for.  Then you need someone (a REALTOR or pay an appraiser) to interpret this information for y9u.  Want to get started?  Here are three ways!  1. (and the easiest) just give me or one of my team members a call and we'll help you  2.  Call an Appraiser (we can recommend a few for you)  3.  Here's a link for you to get the information on homes for sale and homes that have closed - this comes directly from MLS and will come to you in a monthly email.  Sign up at Market Snapshot!

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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