Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate News

March 24, 2022

The Market Value of Home Improvements

During my years in real estate, I've seen cases where homeowners made home improvements assuming they’d recoup their investment when they sold, only to find that the improvements didn’t increase their home's market value, and possibly even decreased it.

 

How could this be? Well, there are many variables involved in how home improvements affect market value. Some relate to the quality of the improvements, while others relate to an individual owner's tastes and needs. For instance, remodeled kitchens and added bathrooms usually generate a good return. However, a new swimming pool that means a lot to one owner often makes a property less saleable generally, and so decreases its market value.

 

So if you’re thinking of renovating or adding on to your home, you’re welcome to give me a call first. From experience, I can help you determine how the improvements are likely to affect your home’s market value, so you can develop a strategy that gives you the results you want.

 

Leslie Green (225) 202-7935 Leslie@PatWattam.com

Leslie Green head shotPat Wattam Five Star Team logo

March 17, 2022

5 Tips for Moving

  1. Don’t pay someone to move a bunch of junk, get rid of it! Before you pack anything, do a merciless purge of your possessions. You’ll be so glad when you have that much less to unpack on the other side!
  2. Book your movers as soon as possible. We are hearing many stories of delayed moves because the movers are already booked up.
  3. If you plan to rent and drive your own truck, get a truck with a ramp for loading. 
  4. Make arrangements to turn on the utilities at your new home and discontinue them at your current home.
  5. Notify everyone of your new address: family, church, banks, post office, online shopping accounts, etc.

Leslie Green (225) 202-7935. Leslie@PatWattam.com

Leslie Green head shotPat Wattam Team logo

March 10, 2022

7 Items to Consider When House Hunting

When you go to a scheduled showing with your Realtor, usually the house is very tidy and staged to look its best. The owners furnishings can be a distraction. Here a few things to notice beyond their nice sofa and coffee table!

 

Plumbing leaks: Check for possible signs of water damage due to leaky plumbing in the cabinets under the sinks.

Closets: Think about the number of closets and the size in each bedroom as well as additional closets throughout the house. And think about their location in the house.

Electrical Outlets: Are there enough outlets in each room for your needs? Is that a renovation you are willing to finance?

Appliances: Any installed appliances remain with the house in Louisiana. Look inside that oven and dishwasher.

Area Rugs: What are the rugs covering up? Look underneath to make sure the floor is in good condition.

Floors: Are the floors level? You can check this with a marble or other small round object.

Windows: What is the view out the windows? Consider whether you are comfortable looking out the kitchen window at your neighbor’s driveway, etc.

 

Leslie Green (225) 202-7935. Leslie@PatWattam.com

Leslie Green head shotPat Wattam Five Star Team logo

Feb. 24, 2022

After the Closing, Now What?

You've closed on the house, using up a lot of your savings in the process, so what do you do next? Try these tips to build your money back up.

Image of US dollars

1.  Put that credit card away! Make a list of what you want to buy for the house, then, as you rebuild your savings, you know what you will want to purchase next!

2.  Your first priority should be to rebuild your emergency savings!  This is more important than redecorating! If you dipped into your reserves to buy the house, then you need to build it back up as quickly as possible to offset any unexpected expenses.

3.  Your mortgage company will make it easy for you to automate your payments. Late payments are now even more damaging to your credit than ever before. Automating them insures that your payments are timely and that helps your credit score!

4.  Establish a filing system and keep good records. You'll need receipts and other documents at tax time. Keep a list on your computer of home maintenance and upgrades.

Drawer of filing cabinet

Using these steps will help get your homeownership off on the right foot.

 

Leslie Green (225) 202-7935 Leslie@PatWattam.com

Leslie Green headshotThe Pat Wattam Five Star Team logo

Feb. 22, 2022

Home sales highest in 15 years

The pandemic pushed homes purchase to their highest level in 15 years for the national market. The quest for space as Americans worked from home due to the virus and the lowest mortgage rates in a generation have fueled the sales. Even with interest rates rising this year, sales are still to remain high as the supply of available homes continues to dwindle. The fewest homes were for sale nationally last month -910,000- since the National Association of Realtors began keeping records in 1999.

Posted in Homesellers
Feb. 17, 2022

How Many Homes Should I Look At Before Buying A House??

We get this question a lot. Most buyers think they need to see everything, just in case we missed that perfect house!  My team spends many hours per week showing and previewing homes so that when you want to see something, they can help you locate the right house very quickly.  Sometimes you only need to see one house and you know that it is the one.  Sometimes, you have to look at 10 houses because you aren't clear on what you really want.  The more you can tell us about your needs and wants, the quicker we can find you the perfect home!

Will you find 100% of what you want in a house? Probably not. You are more likely to get 75-85% of all the things you want so you should prioritize. After budget, here are a few things to consider. Do you need to be close to your work or your kid's school? Do you value a large yard over the convenience of city life? You've probably heard this before but for most people, location is everything! If you can find a house in the right location and about the right size, you can change the paint color, or even some of the fixtures without spending a fortune. Try to look past the cosmetic things and see the layout and location for their value.

When searching for the perfect house in the Greater Baton Rouge Area, let my team help you pick out the right home for your next real estate purchase!  Let us save you time and energy - just make a list of what you want in your next house and let us start shopping!

Leslie Green (225) 202-07935 Leslie@PatWattam.com

Leslie Green headshotThe Pat Wattam Five Star Team logo

Feb. 15, 2022

Painting Tip

Painting is an easy way to get a new look. Sometimes it is difficult to visualize what an entire wall or room will look like based on a small chip from a store. After purchasing gallons of paint, doing all the prep work, and painting the entire wall or room, the color may look different from what you had expected.

The solution. Create your own paint "chips" by buying small cans of paint and painting color swatches right on the wall in various places. You can then see how each color looks at different times of the day. Take note too that your furnishings in the room can also play a part in the color you choose.

Once you have seen your color options throughout the day, you will be able to choose a color that you will be happy with for years to come.

Stuart Bailey

stuart@patwattam.com

225- 431-4810

                

Feb. 10, 2022

Do You Have a Housing Plan?

Most people have some kind of retirement plan, financial plan, business plan, career plan, etc. But have many have a housing plan? By that, I mean, are you maximizing your financial future with your housing plan?

Housing Plan

I met with some of my sellers last week who had been in the same house for over 20 years and the house is over 30 years old.  Unfortunately, over that time, their neighborhood had gone down a bit - it has capped off at what homes are worth, no matter how nice they are or how large they are, the neighborhood has a ceiling on prices. Of course, since they have a larger home than most, and it's nicely updated, they will sell faster than other homes in the subdivision. If they had sold that house at least 10 years ago, and bought in a newer subdivision, that home would have increased in value more than their current home has, over the same time period.

That's why it is important to keep track of the real estate market where you live. As your Realtor, I can share the latest market activity with you and help you decide when it's time to move. Even in a "Seller's Market" it's a good idea to consider buying a different home when your lifestyle needs to change, either because your children have left home for college or you have decided to retire. There are lots of reasons.

Another thing to consider is downsizing while you are still in control of your own decisions. My in-laws decided to sell their home and downsize when they were in their early seventies. They moved into an apartment in anticipation of moving into a retirement community which they did five years later, saving themselves a lot of money. I loved them for that (among other things) because it meant my husband and I didn't have to go to North Carolina and do it for them, they had full control of the process!

Leslie Green  225-202-7935

Leslie@PatWattam.com

Leslie Green headshotThe Pat Wattam Five Star Team logo

Feb. 9, 2022

Buying a Home Using Gift Funds

So, you are ready to buy a home, have met with a lender, but don’t have enough money saved for your down payment. What to do?? Luckily a family member or friend wants to help you with that.

 

Can you just deposit that money into your bank account and be done? The answer is “NO”. It’s called “Gift Money” and you will have to account for it.

Whether you receive $100 or $10,000, the source of the funds in your bank account will matter just as much as how much money you have in it. Why?

Underwriting:

Your lender will look at your credit score, income, and assets to see if lending you money is a risk or not. The Underwriter checks your account to make sure that the money lines up with what your earnings are. Any large deposits outside the norm are a red flag and they will need clarification on where those monies came from. They need to make sure that those are gifts and not loans from friends or family. Add a personal loan on top of a mortgage loan & you may find yourself in dire straits when payment is due!

Gift Letters:

If using gift money for some or all of your down payment, you’ll need your family member or friend to write a gift letter to your mortgage company clarifying that the money is a gift and not a loan. Your lender will guide you on what information the letter should include.

Sometimes the gift letter in itself may not be enough evidence for the mortgage company, depending on the type of loan you are getting, as Conventional, FHA, VA & USDA loans have different guidelines.

If you know that you’ll be getting a financial gift to help with your down payment, be prepared to document it for your mortgage company.

The rules and regulations around gift funds are just one aspect of what to know when you’re getting ready to buy a home.

Contact me, Debbie Hanna, to go over the home buying process in detail.  Our Homebuyer’s Guide is a wealth of information that I am happy to share with you!

 

 

Oct. 8, 2021

Is This the Right Time to Buy?

Gary Keller made an excellent observation in his book "Shift" when he remarked, "The moment the media declares a "real estate shift,", it's as if the Market just got doused in a cold shower.  The result is fearful buyers, pickier buyers, and eventually fewer buyers.  Cautious consumers appear willing to let good deals die and great opportunities pass them by in hopes of getting a steal -  they start missing the forest for the trees.  Wary of paying too much, buyers go too far and begin to offer too little...."  The problem for most buyers is - who can you trust?  Real Estate is so local, you can't just generalize it across the country.

 

Can a buyer trust a real estate agent to guide them to make a wise decision??  We hope so.  Too many buyers ARE missing out on a great deal - THE INTEREST RATES!!  

 

We tell the buyers we work with, if you like this house and think it's good, why do you think there is not anybody but you thinking the same thing! As your Realtor, I run the latest market analysis of the area to show you the value of the house you are interested in. For the Greater Baton Rouge area, sellers are negotiating an average of less than 3% off the list price of a house!  Understand this when you put in an offer!

 

When you find the house you want to live in, then make a serious offer and get the house!  Take advantage of these fabulous interest rates!!  This is one of the best opportunities to own a home in the Great Baton Rouge market.  Call us and WE'LL GUIDE YOU to find the perfect home for you!

 

Leslie Green