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Things You Might Not Know About REALTORS

by Pat Wattam

In this day and age I am still amazed at the misconceptions the public has about REALTORS.  Let me try to shed some light!

1.  REALTORS are not paid a salary.  They are only paid when you use them to buy or sell a house that actually goes to closing!

2.  They pay for their own gas.

3.  They do not have a company car.

4.  Whatever the commission is, they only get part of it.  Part of it goes to their broker, to a relocation company, to a referral company.  And they pay all their expenses and marketing dollars out of that commission.  Oh yeah - and pay taxes.

5.  If a REALTOR buys you lunch, there is no company behind them paying for it.  It actually comes out of their pocket.

6.  If a REALTOR sells a lot of houses it isn't because they sell them for a low price - it's because they do a good job at marketing and negotiating.

7. We don't get kick backs for referring you to people we trust.

8.  We do have a LIFE and are not available at the drop of a hat - and come to think of it, neither is your doctor, CPA, dentist.  And just like other professionals, we will do our best to accommodate you.

9.  We truly want to make you happy because we want you to refer us to your friends.

10.  We have continuing education we must take every year (12 hours) and we have a Code of Ethics that we must adhere to.

So there you go - just a few things that I thought I should share with you today! And Remember, when you are thinking about real estate, Call the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First!

Does the Square Footage of House Determine it's VALUE?

by Pat Wattam
What does square footage determine the value or price of a home?  In many
states the Multiple Listing Service, and Brokers  do not even publish the square footage of properties
for sale.  In fact in Alabama all they give you is a square-foot range - such as between
900-1200 sq ft living area. Ask any builder or appraiser and they will tell you that
square footage is only the starting place to price a home. Think about this.   
If you have two homes side-by-side, in the same subdivision, with exactly the same square
footage living area. One house has all hardwood floors, slab granite countertops
in the bathrooms and the kitchen, stacked crown molding in all rooms and 12'
ceilings. The other home of exactly the same size and exactly the same
floor plan has carpet and linoleum flooring,  no crown molding, 8 foot
ceilings and laminate countertops. Are both homes worth the same amount
of money? 
Another question.  If you buy a home and the house appraises for the sales price,
or maybe even more, does it matter what the square footage was? You didn't put
an offer in on a house with the price  contingent upon the house appraising at $200 a
square-foot living.  You saw the house in person.  You determined that the size fit your needs.  
You based your offer on the value of the house to you.  As long as the house appraises
then you have not overpaid or been ripped off.  Once I listed a two story house and had the house
plans to get the square footage from.  I then had an appraisal that had a significantly different sq ft!
 Another appraiser came up with an even different number!  However, the house appraised for the
sales price with no problem even with the 200 sq ft difference.  This video gives you some solid 
information on pricing homes.
So where does that leave the buyer who makes an offer on a house based on price per sq ft, 
thinking they are getting a great deal  only to find out the house is smaller than they
thought?  And the appraisal comes in fine but it's not that great deal they thought they were getting.
 The Louisiana purchase agreement does not allow for them to back out for that reason. 
In Louisiana, the purchase agreement contract specifically states that there is no warranty
concerining property measurement, square footage, room dimensions, lot size, property lines
or the suitability  or to a particular use of the property and the BUYER has or will independently
investigage all conditions and characteristics of the property WHICH ARE IMPORTANT to the BUYER.  
If the house looks like it will fit your needs, then the price per sq foot doesn't matter - the appraisal does.
If you have a particular piece of furniture that MUST fit in a house, then it is up to you to
measure the room you plan to put it in and make sure it fits.  If a garage has 600 sq ft and says
its 20 x 30, and you ASSUME your vehicle will fit, and you find out later from the appraiser that it's
only 500 sq ft and you didn't measure to make sure your vehicle will fit, you still have to buy the 
house.  (I must remind you that I am NOT an ATTORNEY and you should always consult with a 
Real Estate Attorney when questioning items in a contract).

If square-footage it is a big of a concern to you as opposed to the value of your new home
then during your  due diligence period you should have the house measured or
measure it yourself so that you're happy with what you're purchasing.
The buyer typically has 10 calendar days to make any inspections and determinations
for any concerns they want to address.  Use the time well to make sure things that are
important to you are inspected, measured, etc.  That way you will end up a happy new home owner!
We love happy home owners and education is a key to that happening!  If you are thinking
about purchasing a home in the future, then call the Pat Wattam Team for a free consultation.
We have a handbook that answers most questions buyers ask and gives you things to think about 
when buying a home that you might now have considered!  

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.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Blake Hanna

Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

 

1. Know What You Want

You are about to make one of the most important decisions and one of the biggest commitments in your life, so you had better be clear on what you want. The home buying process can be difficult, so don't add stress by not being prepared. Make sure you've thought through what you are looking for and what you are willing to compromise on so that the transaction will go as smooth as possible.

 

2. Finances- Talk to a Lender

Browsing homes on the internet and making lists of all things you would love in your first house is a great first step, but unless you are paying cash or qualify for a loan you are just window shopping. Having a lender assess your finances will let you know if you can afford to buy a house and for how much. You may have to work on your finances, but you also may qualify for more than you think. It's great to do this first so that you don't end up wasting your time. The lender will also be able to let you know what you need to do to get qualified.

 

3. Find a Great REALTOR®

Finding a good Realtor can save you time, money and help to make the transaction as smooth and stress-free as possible. A good Realtor® is an effective negotiator and will probably get you more house for your money than if you went at it alone. They will also listen to your wants and needs, help you narrow down the areas and houses to look at, and help you to find what your are really looking for.

Buy Instead of Renting - The Pat Wattam Team

by Blake Hanna

Buy Instead of Rent

 

1. Savings and Equity

When you are renting a home, you pay your monthly rent check and that money is gone forever. When buying a home, every mortgage payment you make builds equity in your home and gets you closer to full ownership.

 

2. Interest Rates

With interest rates still low, now is a great time to buy and take advantage of the rates before they rise.

3. Tax Breaks

Everyone dreads tax season. The homeowner can deduct the real estate property tax, some or all of the interest on the mortgage, and the cost of insurance for the property.

 

4. Stability

A homeowner pays the same every month/year when they have a fixed rate mortgage, giving the owner a sense of stability. A renter may be faced with rent increases with the cost of living. Owning a home gives you stability in that your payment will not change regardless of the increase of cost of living.

 

5. Freedom

Unlike renters, homeowners have the right to make structural and aesthetic changes to their home and yard as they want.

Trail walking in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

As the new year started, one of my goals was to put in 10,000 steps a day.  It's harder than I thought.  We sit at our desks all day, or drive clients around in our cars, but not a lot of walking is going on.  Looks like on average I walk 4000-5000 steps a day.  When I add 45 minutes on my treadmill that goes up to 8000 steps, if I walk for an hour, it goes up to over 9000 steps.  Except for walking around our neighborhood, I didn't think there were that many places to easily find to go walking in Baton Rouge.  Well, I was wrong!  Depending on where you live in the city, there are several places to walk that are enjoyable.

First is the Burden Estate off Essen Lane.  There are free trails to walk or for $15/year membership, you can walk in the Windrush Gardens - which is really nice.  Of course, if you go through the museum and the outbuildings, then you can really get lost walking the paths through the woods, around little lakes, etc.  This is a hidden jewel during the week.  Very few people out then and you pretty much have it all to your self.

Second favorite place to walk - or more enjoyable, ride your bicycle - is to go around LSU lakes.  You can walk for miles and there are lots of people there to join you.  I have a friend who likes to take his daughter and walk there and has figured out a 2 mile route.

Our BREC parks also have some nice places to walk.  You will see lots of people walking in Forest Park off Harrels Ferry  - it winds around by the tennis courts and is a nice walk. The other one I like is Highland Road park - plenty of grounds to walk across - or ride your horse!!

But when I have enough time I really like to head north to Port Hudson - a Civil War site with lots of trails and some actual terrain so that you get good exercise. I think I could go way over 10,000 steps if I had time to go there. Maybe if I got there once a week it would just be fun!   

If you can think of some more fun places to walk, add them here!

How Are The TNDs Doing?

by Bill Arey

      

            

Baton Rouge has some wonderful and very popular Traditional Neighborhood Developments - TNDs. Settlement at Willow Grove had it's first recorded sales in 2008, while Preserve at Harveston and Rouzan had their first recorded sales starting in 2013. Preserve at Harveston is the clear leader in sales for the past two years with 76 homes sold AND with 28 additional sales pending at the start of 2016!! All three TNDs have seen healthy growth in the $$ per sq foot in the last three years. 

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First

225-298-6900

bill@patwattam.com

Rock 'n Roll in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Baton Rouge has a Whole Lotta Love going on!  Friday, January 15, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra performs the music of Led Zepplin with Zebra lead singer, Randy Jackson.  I have heard that this is a wonderful show performed all across the country.  I'll be there! Tickets still available

Then, March 10th we get the man himself, ROBERT PLANT

with his latest band, the folk/psychedelic rock group the Sensational Space Shifters.  Tickets go on sale today at ticket master. I found tickets as low at $45 and high as $475!!

Both concerts will be at the Baton Rouge River Center with tickets through TicketMaster.  

What Does A Realtor Do for You?

by Pat Wattam

What does a REALTOR do?  What do they do for you?  That’s a loaded question.  Let’s start with putting a house up for sale.

THE LISTING PROCESS FROM THE AGENT'S POINT OF VIEW - sort of a job description I guess!

  1. Run comparable sales to give the seller the best advice based on the homes that have sold in the area
  2. Go over listing paperwork with seller and explain what the buyers expect from them
  3. Explain to seller what updates are necessary to EVEN get the house sold – each Market is different.  Some areas the buyers are just happy to have a house for sale and in others, like ours, the buyers don’t want to have to do any updating.
  4. Show the seller how to declutter and stage the house.
  5. Measure the house, inside and out  - rain or shine, in the heat of summer or cold of winter
  6. Prepare paperwork to turn in to real estate office
  7. Copy House  Key
  8. Put on lockbox with Key
  9. Put up sign
  10. Take photos
  11. Photoshop the photos
  12. Write comments that will engage the buyer 
  13. Write ads to engage the buyer
  14. Submit to Multiple List (MLS) in their area
  15. Create a virtual tour  See how wonderful it looks?!  Doesn't matter how large or how small, we make your house sing!
  16. Submit listing to personal websites
  17. Create a flyer/brochure
  18. Deliver flyer
  19. Talk house up to other agents
  20. Contact buyers in their data base
  21. Send flyer/brochure to other agents
  22. Answer ad calls/sign calls/internet leads on house
  23. Show house
  24. Monitor showings and feedback
  25. Call for feedback if not provided by showing agent
  26. Answer questions from feedback
  27. Perhaps hold an open house
  28. Determine when to reduce price
  29. Present offers
  30. If not sold, do another market analysis. Examine Feedback.  Try to determine buyers’ reluctance to purchase house.
  31. Explain all this to the seller
  32. If reduce price, then redo flyers
  33. Deliver flyers
  34. Sent notice out of change of price
  35. Present offers

 

ONCE OFFER IS ACCEPTED, then the agent starts the next step!

 

All this is done on each and every listing, plus agent is showing houses to buyers, handling closings, etc!  

 

When you hire the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First, you will find a well oiled organization with systems and check lists in place to make sure we don't miss one of the steps!  

Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge

by Bill Arey

When I was growing up in Baton Rouge back in the 60's, Mardi Gras was basically a non-event. Mardi Gras was something New Orleans did - not Baton Rouge......and we didn't even get off school on Fat Tuesday. Well the times have certainly changed and now Baton Rouge has lots of Mardi Gras parades, krewes, and most schools are out the whole week of Mardi Gras. I am guessing that the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade was probably Baton Rouge's first organized Mardi Gras parade - it first rolled in 1981. My favorite Baton Rouge Mardi Gras parade is the Krewe of Southdowns parade - it is a nightime parade and rolls through one of south Baton Rouge's favorite areas.

Bill Arey  REALTOR

The Pat Wattam Team

ReMax First   225-298-6900


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 343

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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