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Baton Rouge Real Estate Blog

Pat Wattam


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Extra Costs When Buying a Home- Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Blake Hanna

Many people are not aware that buying your house doesn't only cost the price of the house. 

So, for all the Lord of the Rings fans out there........

There are several additional costs when buying a house. You should be prepaired and budget for these costs. You will know ahead of time an estimate of what these additional costs will be. It will not be a surprise. In advance you will be given what is known as a "Good Faith Estimate," which is an estimate of all the fees associated with the purchase of your home.

There are 6 basic categories for the Good Faith Estimate

  • Loan Fees
  • Fees to be paid in advance 
  • Reserves
  • Title Charges
  • Government Charges
  • Additional Charges(such as HOA fees, repairs and pest inspections)
These may seem like a lot but don't freak out! Many of these these benefit you! We're here to HELP with all your questions and concerns. 
The Pat Wattam Team
RE/MAX First

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.

Capital Heights - Creativity on Display

by Bill Arey

Capital Heights has a funky charm that draws creative people to live and work. An amazing amount of creativity is happening at the corner of Government and Hebert Streets in the heart of Capital Heights. I'm not sure who the artist is, but the work is wildly imaginative and impressive.

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

Baton Rouge Real Estate Rental Property

by Pat Wattam

With all the homes for sale in Baton Rouge, a lot of people think that now is not the right time to buy.  Baton Rouge real estate prices are higher than they were 10 years ago.  I hear people say all the time, "I wish I had bought real estate in Baton Rouge or Prairieville 10 years ago" - I'm sure they are all thinking pre hurricane Katrina!  Don't we all!

As an experienced investor, who bought before and after Katrina, I can tell you that TODAY is always the best time to buy.  in 10 years, you'll be heard lamenting 'I wish I had bought real estate in Baton Rouge in 2015"!!!!!  With prices as high as they are (and they are definitely lower than 2008), why should you buy today?  Buying rental property in Baton Rouge, in my opinion, is all about buying in the right school district, or the right price range, or in a historically stable area that people gravitate towards.  There is a price range than most people can afford whether they are just starting out, retiring, getting their first job, starting graduate school, etc.  That's a good starting point.  Also, multi-family properties help you hedge your bet because when one unit is vacant, the rest are rented.  These are more costly to purchase and to maintain.  If you are a first time investor, the easiest to manage on your own and to understand when buying, is a single family unit.  The more comfortable you are as an investor, the multi-family units are a good choice.  I say that with the acknowledgment that our first rental was a 6-plex!  My whole thought on the process is that when you buy a rental property, you have a tenant (tenants) who are purchaing the home for you!!  Yes, you have the expense in purchasing and maintaining the property but that is nothing compared to someone buying you a $150000 house!!!  Think about that.  Oh, and I did buy on the beach at the height of the market.  One of my properties is worth less than half what I paid for it.  But guess what, it doesn't cost me ANYTHING to own it - the renters cover the note and more!!!!!  I'm not in the market to sell - I may someday when the prices go back up, but even if they never do, someone else is paying my note and my downpayment would have been the same so I haven't lost anything!!!

With the amount of homes for sale in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas you really need a professional to help you narrow down your choices and explain the pros and cons of each.  Give us a call on the Pat Wattam Team and we'll help you get started on the road to creating wealth!

Mid City Baton Rouge

by Bill Arey

This week's Business Report (August 4 - August 17) is devoted to what is happening in the Mid City area of Baton Rouge. The good news is there has been some excellent commercial redevlopment of older buildings and there is a lot more to come in the future. I wondered what has happened to property values in the Mid City area in the last 10 years. I looked at three areas - Bernard Terrace, Ogden Park, and Capital Heights and pulled the median $$ per sq foot numbers for all houses sold in 2005, 2010 and so far in 2015.  

BERNARD TERRACE - 2005  $72.69 per sq ft living space   2010  $119.88 per sq ft   2015  $115.06 per sq ft  

OGDEN PARK - 2005  $96.00 per sq ft   2010  $120.78 per sq ft  2015  $151.00 per sq ft    

CAPITAL HEIGHTS - 2005  $108.56 per sq ft   2010  $155.70 per sq ft  2015  $169.20 per sq ft  

Makes me wish I had bought some investment properties in Mid City 10 years ago.


Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

Before You Head Out to Open Houses in Baton Rouge Sunday

by Pat Wattam

Thinking of things to do to stay cool?  A lot of people enjoy looking at houses and will drive around Baton Rouge looking at the open houses on Sunday.  Well, the first Sunday of each month the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum has their First Sunday prices - which means FREE admission as well as reduced admission to the planetarium shows!  You can explore interactive Children's galleries, tour the art galleries, and visit a 2,300 year old mummy.

Then, get back in your car and go see some open houses. We have lots of nice inventory of homes for sale in Baton Rouge and many are open on Sunday.  However, if you are serious about finding a house, the best way is to have a Realtor look for you.  We have access to the latest Listings (unlike Zillow which does not pull from our MLS system) and may know of a gem you would never find on your own.  

If you are a first time home buyer, we offer a free consult to educate you on the process.  if you are a current home owner and want to make a change, we will meet with you and guide you through that process - which is different than the frist time home buyer. 

Give us a call before you head out on Sunday and we'll help you find your way around the Baton Rouge Real Estate Market - and maybe give you some more tips on free things to do inside when it's hot.

Value or Price

by Bill Arey

When selling or buying real estate there are different points of view of what the "price" of the home should be. Naturally, a seller wants to sell their house for as much money as possible. The seller will establish an "ASKING price" but ultimately, the market (potential interested buyers) will determine the "VALUE". Most buyers want the "best deal" they can get on the home. Let's look at the different price and value determinors:

ASKING PRICE: The price the home seller would like to sell the property at. Typically inflated to some degree to leave room for negotiation with the buyer.

MARKET VALUE: Also known as "fair market value" - the most probable price that willing and informed buyers and sellers can agree upon in a competitive market.

APPRAISED VALUE: An opinion of a property's fair market value based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience and analysis of the property.

ASSESSED VALUE: The valuation placed on the property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.


Bill Arey   REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

If you haven't eaten at these it!

by Blake Hanna

These are some great places to eat in Baton Rouge. None of them are too expensive and all will leave you satisfied.

First on the list is TACO CHOPS. These guys do things different than the other Mexican restaurants in Baton Rouge. A lot more like authentic Mexican food.Their tacos are awesome! More meat and less of everything else, just the way it should be. My personal favorties are the steak and chorizo tacos. Their quesadillas are also very popular.

Second at the list is NEW YORK BAGEL. Get a sandwich then take some bagels and fresh cream cheese home. They have many flavors to choose from. Although there are many different bagel sandwiches on the menu, I go back to the Brooklyn Bomber time and time again. I suggest getting it on an Asiago Cheese or an Everything bagel. You won't be disappointed.

Last on the list, but certainly not least, is THE COVE. You can't go wrong ordering anything on this Hawaiian Grill menu. The bowls, bugers and the Bulgogi Chips are fantastic!



Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team

RE/MAX First


Living in Small Spaces

by Roger Wattam

Living in small spaces can be challenging from the perspective of interior design. Too much furniture makes

your home feels small and cluttered. Too little and you lack functionality for day-to-day living.

Making the best use of the area you have is imperative if you want to get more from less space.

Here are some workable tips for maximizing the space you have.

Divide and Conquer -- Instead of breaking up your floor plan into individual rooms,

consider an open layout. Strategically place furniture to divide the space.

Make it Light and Bright -- Use lighting to create a sense of spaciousness. 

Allow as much natural light in as possible and keep window coverings to a minimum.

Make use of bright paint colors.

Supplemental Lighting -- Augment natural light with general, ambient and

task lighting. Your lighting design should take into account the different uses of

the space.

Organization -- When designing your small space, think about storage in

every room. Built-in bookcases, cupboards or cabinets, and 

 furniture with built-in storage reduce the amount of clutter.

Flexibility and Versatility --When considering your design needs, keep multiple uses in mind.

Look for furniture that can do double duty, likea  hinged coffee table that lifts to create a dining surface

or a dresser that serves as a nightstand.


When searching for small spaces, it can be searched by price or by living area,

or number of bedrooms and baths.  There are plenty of homes in Baton Rouge that could fit with your plan!

Million Dollar Homes in the Baton Rouge Area

by Bill Arey

Recently the Pennington Estate sold for $6,000,000. This is a record for highest sales price for residential real estate in the Greater Baton Rouge area. I decided to see how many homes are currently on the market priced at or above one million dollars. The answer is 80!! If 80 are currently active - how many do you think have sold in the last 12 months? The answer is 30 (including the Pennington Estate). This means there is 32 months worth of inventory currently on the market. If you are considering purchasing a million dollar home..... it is a buyer's market. 

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 305




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