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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: http://www.extramileteam.com/ 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.

Get in touch with The Pat Wattam Team today for assistance and check out the Baton Rouge Real Estate blog daily for updates and information. 

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  

225-329-4349

FEMA and SBA INFO Louisiana Flood 2016 - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Many clients have called me to get informatoin on what to do next.  This is the information I have gathered so far with my personal experience with one of our rental houses that flooded.

If you are a home owner and your personal home flooded and you have flood insurance, your first call is to your insurance agent.  Your next call is to FEMA or to register on line.  The web site to register is http://www.disasterassistance.gov.  If you would prefer to have them take your application over the phone, the phone number for FEMA is 1-800-621-3362.  My wait time was between 20-30 minutes and it takes about 20 minutes for them to take the application.  You can then elect to do everything on line - nothing is emailed to you, you have to set up a password and an account to look at things they send you.  You can also elect to do everything via regular mail.

If you are a home owner and did not have to have flood insurance (not in a flood zone), your first call is to FEMA - same as above.  You will be elibigle for up to $33,000 in grant money assistance.  One of my clients said that when she did the FEMA application on line, it sent her to the SBA site.  Not sure why but just make sure you apply with FEMA and get a FEMA claim number.

IF if it your rental property that flooded and you do not have flood insurance, even though FEMA has nothing for you, during my application with SBA (Small Business Administration) to get a low interest loan, it asked for my FEMA number.  So, I suggest you go ahead an apply for FEMA - in fact, our governor told us to all be sure to register with FEMA so I did.  The phone number for the SBA is 1-800-659-2955.  FEMA person also told me to call IRS at 1-800=829-3676 and ask for publication #2194B.  I think that was to see how the cost to repair our rental would impact taxes.  Haven't checked that out yet.  

FEMA  1-800-621-3362 Helpline

SBA  1-800-659-2955

 


Mold Testing for Flood Victims

by Pat Wattam

 

I received this information from Advantage Inspections Today.  Just pulling out the wet flooring and sheetrock isn't enough.
See Below from Kevin Dinkel.
Mold Testing for Flood Victims
Have Peace of Mind Knowing Your Home is Safe 
Mold and bacteria have ideal breeding grounds in the warm, damp flooding areas of Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. Exposure to these harmful organisms may affect your and your family's health. The CDC warns that "molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation." Contact with mold and harmful bacteria may cause severe reactions for those with weaker immune systems, children, and the elderly. 


We are ready to work to bring Baton Rouge residents back to safe homes. If your home or office was impacted by flooding in the past few days, please give us a call at Advantage Services (225) 753-8114 to inspect your home for harmful bodies that may have grown while you were away. 
If you know someone in need of an inspection, please pass this information along. We would like to wish you and your loved ones a safe and speedy recovery!

 

The Pat Wattam Team Stands Ready to Assist

by Blake Hanna

With the horrible time our state is facing, it's easy to think you are alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Our team has a wealth of resources available and we are here to help you. If you need home repair, we hae people we can put you in touch with. If you have questions about flood insurance, call us now and we'll make sure your questions are answered. If your home was flooded and you don't have flood insurance, call us now. There is relief available. If you need to make a home purchase or find a place to rent immediately, we can help. We stand ready to help however we can in these difficult times. 

The Pat Wattam Team is ready to assist you!

We have several vacant homes for sale right now that would make for an easy move. Call us now to find out more! (225)298-6900

These are priced between $130k-180k


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.

                       

 

  

Baton Rouge Area Home Buyers Beware!

by Debbie Hanna

10 COMMANDMENTS that HOME BUYERS MUST FOLLOW!

I hope the following items seem like common sense. But with all of the excitement surrounding your pending home purchase, you may sometimes forget the do’s and don’ts when you are “under contract”. Please don’t be like some recent Buyers, who saw their home loan turned down, all because they bought new furniture a week before closing. They couldn’t resist the great “deal” they were getting at the store. Unfortunately, that purchase changed their debt-to-income ratio & the buyers no longer qualified to purchase the home !!!!!

LESSON?  Once you get pre-approved for a loan and you are under contract, don’t do ANYTHING that might affect your credit !!!!

1. Thou shalt NOT change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job.

2. Thou shalt NOT buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it)!

3. Thou shalt NOT use credit cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind.

4. Thou shalt NOT spend the money you have set aside for closing.

5. Thou shalt NOT omit debts or liabilities from your loan application.

6. Thou shalt NOT buy furniture, appliances, etc.

7. Thou shalt NOT originate any inquiries into your credit.

8. Thou shalt NOT make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer.

9. Thou shalt NOT change bank accounts.

10. Thou shalt NOT co-sign a loan for anyone.

Once you are “under contract”, remember that your credit MUST NOT change or be affected in ANY WAY before signing the paperwork at closing and getting possession of your new home. Lenders will not only look into your credit when you first get pre-approved, they may check it a few more times while you are under contract.  If you want to buy new furniture, new appliances, new car, or even change jobs, the time to do any of that is after you have closed on your home!!

IF YOU ARE NOT SURE IF SOMETHING COULD AFFECT YOUR CREDIT, DON'T GUESS! CONTACT YOUR LENDER!

 

Debbie Hanna

RE/Max First

225-772-3662

How TRID Affects Your Closing - in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

When purchasing a home, the new TRID rules are supposed to make settlement statements easier to read and understand.  The closing documents need to be signed by the purchaser 3 days prior to closing.  This is all well and good EXCEPT - what do you do when you have sold your home, and are planning to purchase your new one on the same day - back to back as we say, and your buyer's CD is not ready timely.  Now you can't close until they do.  And what is happening with the seller of the house you are purchasing?  Is your seller willing to wait?  This is a question we face daily in real estate - and a prime reason you need a REALTOR when purchasing a home as we make our clients aware of the possible problems due to TRID.

The real solution to this problem is doing a lot of your homework BEFORE making an offer on a house.  If you have already met with the lender and provided them all the information they need, and the LENDER has given you the worst case scenario of how many days they need to close the loan, then you can easily write an offer and pick a closing date and be confident that you can meet that date.  If you haven't done this, then don't try to make a 30 day closing.  Select 45-60 days instead.  It isn't fair to your seller for you to select a closing date that your lender truly can't make - or will maybe just make it in time.  

AND the pittfall for you, as a buyer, in a hot real estate Market - as in some areas of the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market - is you can't be sure that your seller doesn't have a better offer in a backup position.  Remember, the seller does not HAVE to extend the purchase agreement closing date just because the buyer's lender can't meet that date.  You ask for an extension to finish your loan, the seller declines and puts the back up offer in play.  AVOID THIS SITUATION by doing your homework first.  And, if you are in a multiple tier situation with buyers and sellers, make sure all buyers have done their homework up front or make sure you extend the closing date in your counter so that there is time to make all the closings coincide.

Is My House Ready For It's Closeup? -In Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

One of the first questions my sellers ask in the greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market is "Is My Home Ready For Pictures"?  Here's a quick tip so that you know if your home is ready or not.  Remember, the marjority of buyers use their smart phones to look at houses.  That means, on a small screen, your house needs to look inviting.  Take a photo of each room with your cell phone camera and what jumps out at you?  You will quickly see how cluttered the house looks - even after you have removed most of the clutter!  What's the first thing you notice - BE HONEST!  Can you see the purpose of the room - or is all I can see in the guest bedroom is your furniture?  The buyers need to see how big the room is.  Are all your collectibles taking up the room?  The buyer doesn't want to see your but wants to be able to visualize theirs.  What about the color - is it something that would appeal to most people?  

I think if you are honest with yourself you will see what needs to be removed and changed to make the home inviting.  And by the way, if you have a beautiful outside, be sure not to block the view from the window!  If you have a nice big patio but not furniture, borrow some, rent some, buy something used - stage this area to make it inviting.  

Call on any of us at the Pat Wattam Team anytime and we'll be happy to look at your house and give you tips on getting it ready for us to sell!

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.  

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 378

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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