Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate News

Sept. 15, 2022

7 Tips: What Every Home Buyer Needs To Know

Buying a home, whether it's your first or your third, can be a daunting task.  It is one of your biggest financial investments. With all the news recently about inflation and the wild housing market, buying a home may not sound like a good financial investment. But guess what? Owning a house is more secure than owning stocks. Why? Because a house is something tangible - you can touch it, you can improve it, you can live in it and enjoy your life - or you can use it as a rental vehicle to create wealth for you - it doesn't just do ONE thing.   

One of the main questions we are asked is how to minimize risk when purchasing a home. Here in the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate market we have a long history in our Multiple List tools which allows us, as REALTORS,  to look at the history of a subdivision or an area. Some areas did not lose any value during the past 5 years, some gained value, and others did lose. When the Pat Wattam Team does a buyer consultation, we explore where you want to buy a home and why that area is important to you. We can show you statistics on how that area has performed so that you can make a good buying decision.  

I own a condo close to LSU that we bought to house our children while they were students. Nothing has changed for me, except that if I wanted to sell or refinance, the value has declined. Owning a home, as I said, is more than just a financial investment. It truly is a way of life - how you want to live everyday. What is the ONE thing a house MUST have in order for you to purchase it?  I'll bet it has nothing to do with price per sq ft but more with how you want to live.  

So, here are my tips on buying a house:

1.  Choose an agent who has your best interests at heart. That doesn't mean getting you a home at a fantastic price but someone who helps you find a home that fits in with your vision of your life in a home.

2.  Get fully approved prior to home shopping. This can save you thousands of dollars during negotiation. Every buyer typically gets 'pre-approved' but we all know that means nothing. The lender has to actually verify your credit, your job, your assets, your tax returns - then you KNOW that your approval letter will mean something to a seller and they may be willing to give a little more knowing that your loan is definitely going to close. CHOOSE you lender carefully. You are much better off working with a local institution who will see you as a persona and help you through the process. We know lots of very reliable lenders and we're happy to share their names with you. Just give us a call.

3.  When picking out a house, if you only plan to be in it in a couple of years, you need to buy what is traditional for the area. Don't buy the largest house or smallest house in the subdivision, don't buy one that has a different style than the others - all this will help you maintain your equity. If you plan to stay 10 or more years, buy whatever you want!

4.  When you find a home and you are ready to make an offer, make a serious offer with a serious deposit. Show the seller that you have money and that you are ready to go. Make the seller an attractive offer with a strong approval letter and see if you can get them to accept!

5.  Have the home inspected by a licensed professional inspector. They can find things that your dad, or brother, uncle, or cousin may or may not be able to find. And remember, a home inspection is not a laundry list to the seller to make the home just like a brand new one; rather, it is to address issues that you could not see with your eye - cracked heat exchangers, bad roof, broken rafter, termites, etc.

6.  Plan ahead for the move and start getting ready by boxing things in each room, clearly labeled. If you are making a local move and hiring local movers, they charge by the house. Plan ahead of time on where you want them to place your furniture. There is nothing worse than letting the clock keep ticking and you try to decide where they should unload the boxes or the furniture!

7.  ENJOY your new home!

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

Leslie Green Head ShotPat Wattam Five Star Team Logo

Sept. 8, 2022

Landscaping Tips To Help Sell Your Home

Having curb appeal can either improve or diminish the chances of selling your home. That’s why the first impression of a home is essential in getting a potential home buyer's attention. Your landscaping can be the advertisement that gets the buyer in your door. If the buyer likes the outside of the home, they will be more inclined to see the inside. Did you know that having a well maintained landscape can add up to 10% to the value of your home. I hope these tips will be of use to you.

YOUR LAWN Cleaning up the lawn should be the first thing you do when working with your landscaping. Why? Grass takes the longest time to perfect or improve. Healthy green grass is the first thing that will attract a potential home buyer. If your landscape isn't maintained, it may drastically alter their opinion. They may even think they the inside of your home matches the outside. You also want to make sure you keep leaves and debris picked up and just keep the appearance clean in general. If you have brown patches, rake it and seed it until you have the desired effect. If your yard is in really bad shape, you may want to consider hiring a landscaping professional.

TRIMMING An easy way to clean up your landscaping is to trim any trees, bushes, or shrubs you may have. This can be very important in making the architecture of your home a high point. It will also keep your plants healthier.

COLOR Having color will help attract attention and help sell your home. Colorful flowers will do the trick. You might want to consider adding mulch to your garden beds. This is an easy and rather inexpensive way to brighten up your landscape. It also can be added very quickly in case you have a home showing coming up.

DECORATION Decorating the entrance is another way to brighten up your home. Place a welcome mat out or add a wreath to your front door. You want the buyers to feel as if they are already at home!

I hope these tips will be of use to you when selling your home.

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

Sept. 1, 2022

Avoid Huge HVAC Expense!?

How to Avoid a Huge HVAC Mistake…and a Big Expense

 

As things heat up in the greater Baton Rouge Area, we wanted to take the chance to remind you of the importance of regularly caring for your HVAC system. We just returned from vacation with our house at 92 degrees!  It was a bad capacitor and luckily it was quickly repaired.  Things can go wrong even after you have your unit inspected, and we know here in the heat of summer, the units really take a beating so it is really important to pay attention to a few things.

 

Failing to properly maintain your HVAC can cost you thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, we’ve had clients confronted with HVAC nightmares due to lack of consistent maintenance.

 

The good news is, while the cost to replace an HVAC system can be in the $5,000 - 10,000 range, simple maintenance is not costly at all. A filter is usually less than $10 and replacing it monthly keeps your air cleaner and your house less dusty.

 

Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as the original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer instructions for cleaning. If you're using a high-density filter such as an electrostatic filter, check with your local HVAC expert, who can raise the external static pressure of your system. If the external static pressure exceeds the design criteria of your system, it can negatively impact the performance and life of your equipment.

 

Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a return air grille in a wall of your home. If you cannot find the air filter, contact your local HVAC dealer for assistance.

 

Have your local HVAC dealer perform preventative maintenance before the start of summer and then again before winter kicks in.  I always suggest to potential sellers to have this done before putting the house on the market - it would be nice to know before you negotiate a sales price on the house if you are going to have any big expense on replacing or repairing your HVAC!!  If you haven't had yours serviced in 6 months, I would highly recommend doing it now.  Some preventative maintenance upfront can save you a big headache when your unit fails on a weekend this summer (and it seems they always fail on the hottest day!!). Many companies offer service agreements that may include reduced rates on labor and parts and provide priority response. Service/maintenance agreements may also cover:

 

-Cleaning indoor and outdoor coils

-Tightening electrical connections

-Checking supply voltage and operating current

-Checking refrigerant charge

-Measuring temperature differential at supply and return registers

-Cleaning blower wheel and motor

-Inspecting and adjusting the burner

-Checking heat exchangers

-Cleaning drain lines and pan

-Checking ductwork for leaks and insulation

-Checking the thermostat

 

Like many of us, your home is most likely your biggest investment. Simple and regular maintenance will not only preserve your home’s value but help you avoid a potential crisis and unexpected expense. For more information or for a recommendation on a local HVAC expert, please e-mail our team. Be sure to forward this  on to your fellow homeowner friends as well!

 

Leslie Green

Leslie@PatWattam.com
(225) 202-7935

Leslie Green Head ShotPat Wattam Five Star Team Logo

Aug. 25, 2022

Home Maintenance

Throughout the seasons, your home has taken good care of you and your family and now is the best time to give back.

 

Go through your property to evaluate and create a checklist on areas that need mending or replacement. This list is a crucial preparation before calling a contractor or handyman for maintenance/repair services. Some common maintenance and repair include:

  • Re-caulking and replacing weather-striping
  • Cleaning and sealing wooden decks
  • Trimming bushes and trees
  • Realigning downspouts and gutters
  • Repairing the roof
  • Cleaning the pool
  • Mending the fence
  • Sealing cracks along driveways, foundation, walkways, etc.
  • Maintenance of HVAC systems

 

Leslie Green

(225) 202-7935

leslie@patwattam.com

Leslie Green Head ShotPat Wattam Five Star Team Logo

Aug. 19, 2022

Energy-Efficient Renovation

When it comes to summer remodeling, there's no better way to invest your hard-earned dollars than by making your home energy efficient. An energy-efficient summer remodel is truly a worthwhile endeavor as it will result in years of savings on your energy bills. Some of the common items you can buy and integrate into your energy-efficient renovation include:

  • Insulation systems and materials
  • Roofs that resist heat gain
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • HVAC systems with the highest efficiency tier
  • Solar panels
  • Fuel cells

Taking on one (or more!) of these projects is a great way to give back to your home this summer…and, in some cases, save you a bit of money, too.

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

Leslie Green Head ShotPat Wattam Five Star Team Logo

May 26, 2022

Video Home Inventory

Last year the day before Hurricane Ida made landfall, I walked through my house and made a video inventory. I opened cabinets and drawers to record certain valuables, like my silver set and jewelry, as well as the many musical instruments in my home from a ukulele to a baby grand piano. It’s important to have an inventory in case you ever need to make an insurance claim. In fact, some insurance apps have a section where you can upload a video inventory for future purposes.

 

No one ever likes to think about having their home damaged by a storm or even broken into, but in the event that it happens, it pays to be prepared. If I can be of any service to you in this regard, please call or email me.

 

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

Leslie Green head shotPat Wattam Five Star Team logo

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