Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate News

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

Oct. 5, 2021

A Few Thoughts when Buying a Home

 

Lifestyle & Future Needs

Now that you are ready to buy a home, consider how you will "grow" into your new place. What you choose should fit your lifestyle and have features that appeal to you and your family. Anticipate your future wants and needs. Do you have enough room now and will you have enough room for the future

 

Features

There are several things to keep in mind when viewing the interior of the house. Does the floor plan, storage space, backyard, kitchen area, size of bedrooms and bathrooms meet your needs?

You should visualize your furniture in the home to get an impression of whether or not it will work. Whenviewing the exterior, you want to make sure the yard is big enough to meet your needs. Imagine coming home after a long day at work.

Does this home give you that “special feeling?”

 

Overall Condition

Be sure to ask questions about the plumbing, electrical, foundation, and the roof. You should also inquire about the age of the HVAC system, water heater and the repair/maintenance history.

You want to buy a home that is in good condition so that you arent's using up all of your savings fixing it up.

The price reduction on a “fixer upper” may not seem like much of a discount after putting the money and work you have to put into making the house livable.

 

Value

It’s also good to know if the Market has gone up or down since the seller bought the home. You then can compare it with what it is worth in today’s market. Finding what the other homes in the neighborhood have sold for and comparing those prices is the best way to find the value. The bank’s appraiser will generate the value basedon these comparables.

 

Flood Zone

We are all in some type of flood zone in Louisiana. If you are in the "special hazard" flood zone, most commonly referred to as "AE", and you are obtaining financing from a lender, you will be required to pay flood insurance.

FEMA has flood maps online to view for free. Have your Realtor check the property disclosure document for clarification and it may also be a good idea to check with your insurance company.

Schools

If you have children, you will want to do research on the local schools before thinking about buying a home. You can check the school district website for more information.

Realtor®

Having a trustworthy, reliable, driven realtor, is essential to making your home buying experience smooth. You need a Realtor who you can work closely with and is willing to go above and beyond to find you the house of your dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in For Buyers Only
Sept. 30, 2021

Walking Tour of Baton Rouge

Did you know you can take Walking Tours of Baton Rouge like a tourist would?  These tours sound like fun.  The Walking Tours take place Wednesday - Friday, from 8 am - 1 pm.

This company even offers a Food Tour, which sounds like a LOT of fun - wonder where they take you?  So, if you are trying to find something to do, play like you are a tourist and take a tour of our area!!

Walking Tour of LevyWalking Tour of Capitol

If you take a tour, let us know how it went!

Pat WattamThe Pat Wattam Five Star Team Logo

Pat Wattam    pat@patwattam.com

Aug. 26, 2021

Baton Rouge Market Update August 2021

Everybody is wondering what is going on with our real estate market so here is my Baton Rouge Market Update as of August 2021!  As you are probably aware, we have limited inventory in some price ranges which have caused the prices on those homes to increase.  The homes that sell the fastest are those that are totally updated and many times we will receive multiple offers on these homes.  

Here's a video explaining the Market as of August 2021

Looking for a home? Search Here!

As always, if you have questions about the market, selling property or buying property, just give us a call at 225-298-6900!

 

July 22, 2021

10 Financial Tips For Homebuyers

Making plans to purchase a new home or even to make a move up requires financial planning. Here are some tips:

1. Make a plan. Create a straightforward budget for the year and monitor it monthly or weekly. Each month, review your progress and revise where necessary. Make a date with yourself or your significant other each month and make it mandatory.  Come prepared with updated records.

2. Use cash. This is probably the single biggest idea to start creating wealth!  Move away from credit cards and avoid going into debt, especially for daily, routine and ongoing purchases. Write checks or use automatic bill payments for bills, and withdraw enough cash or use a debit card for other expenses. Track withdrawals diligently to avoid going into overdraft. It's hard to do but after a year you will find it very easy, and your credit cards will no longer be a drain!

3. Pay bills on time. This sounds like a 'no brainer' but in this economic climate you need as perfect credit as you can to buy a home, and just being late one time on your rent or mortgage will keep you from buying another house. The most important element of good credit is paying bills on time. Keep bills in one location and check that spot weekly. Set up online payments or write due dates on a calendar to stay on track.

4. Save and then Save some more!  Your goal should be to save 10% or more of your income, but starting with even a few dollars a week is a great way to develop the habit of saving. You can always add more to your savings at any time. For example, after you pay off a bill, add the amount you would normally pay toward the bill to your savings instead. If you get a raise, bonus, cash gift or other one-time monetary receipt, save it—or at least a portion of it. Skip eating out one day a week. 

5. Practice preventative health. Case in point: my brother knew something was wrong with his foot but just kept putting off going to the doctor - until he got really sick and was running a fever.  Come out to find, he had diabetes and ended up with a toe amputated - just because he refused to take the time to go to a doctor.  Money cannot buy good health, but in today’s world of skyrocketing medical and insurance costs, getting sick can cost you. Exercise and eat well, get enough sleep and, in these stressful times, take time to pursue relaxation practices, whether that means spiritual practices, meditation, a workout or coffee with a friend.

6. Think twice before spending. Find creative ways to cut back on expenses—take care of household maintenance, barter services or goods with friends or neighbors, and fix up old belongings rather than rushing to buy new ones. Some statistics say that people buy 30% more when shopping with a larger cart, so even a small change like avoiding the store cart when possible could save you money. Once you go to an all cash plan this is easier to control.

7. Participate in a retirement plan. Many believe now is a great time to invest for the long term. Especially if your employer matches contributions, contribute to a business retirement plan. If you are on your own for retirement savings, invest in an Individual IRA, Roth IRA and/or plan for self-employed persons.

8. Have the right insurance. Insurance protects against expenses you cannot cover yourself. Be sure you have life insurance to protect your family, auto insurance to cover your car, health insurance to provide for at least major medical incidents, and home or renter's insurance to protect possessions from theft or disaster. Remember, the insurance company doesn't want to pay you so you have to be very persistent when you are due - but don't use it unless you absolutely have to - your rates will probably be raised if you use it a lot.

9. Pay taxes on time. File your income tax return on or before April 15, with any tax due, to avoid penalties. At the same time, adjust withholding if needed to account for changes in income. That step might be especially important this year for those with lost or reduced work. If your refund was large, have fewer taxes withheld so you are not giving an interest-free loan to the government.

10. Get help if you need it. If you lose your job, file for unemployment quickly. If you are worried that you will be unable to pay rent, mortgage or other obligations, talk to your bank or a reputable debt resolution company to learn about your options.

Investing in a home one of the best ways to secure your financial well being. If you would like more information, e-mail me, and please forward these sound financial tips to your family and friends.

Leslie Green, (225) 202-7935, leslie@patwattam.com

Leslie Green head shotFive Star Team logo

July 15, 2021

Are Home Owner Associations An Important Criteria In Home Buying?

Recently at an HOA meeting in Baton Rouge, I was asked if having a strong Home Owners Association was a good thing or just one MORE thing to have to deal with. The answer is definitely YES!

 

HOA image

 

A strong home owners association will help to retain home values because a standard of maintenance is required. Yards can't become junked up, and in some cases, the kind of landscaping you put in has specific requirements that will make the neighborhood have a certain quality, which again, helps home values! One of the problems for most home owners is that they really don't see the value of paying the monthly fees required to have a strong HOA. You can't appreciate it until your subdivision has to hire an attorney to make a home owner take care of the property or prevent them from building an 'eye sore' in the back yard, which again, would affect the home values down the road!

 

Leslie Green, (225) 202-7935, leslie@patwattam.com

Leslie Green head shotFive Star Team logo

July 8, 2021

Make Your House Stand Out!?

Where do you start when it's time to sell your house? At the front, of course! A house with excellent curb appeal will bring in the buyers AND, if you have really beautiful landscaping, it can help bring in a higher offer. "Why?" you may ask.  Think about it, it's like the wrapping on a package. If you have two packages with the exact same gift inside but one with pretty wrapping and one with no wrapping, which one do you PERCEIVE to be more valuable?  It's the same with houses. 

Landscaping

Tidy flower beds with fresh mulch and some colorful plants can make a drab time of year - well, prettier! Prune the trees, edge the walks and you are ready to go. Oh, don't forget the backyard, too. It is pretty strange when you see a house with a beautifully landscaped front yard and then nothing in the back!

Now, if you have done your job well, and you have people wanting to view your home for sale, you better make sure the inside looks as good as the outside!  More about this later!

Leslie Green (225) 202-7935 - leslie@patwattam.com

Leslie Green head shotFive Star Team

May 20, 2021

What to expect: Home Inspection

Once your house has gone under contract, the buyer has the right to schedule a home inspection within the inspection period in the state of Louisiana. Buyers have the right to also have specific inspections during the inspection period, most often they might ask a licensed roofer or licensed HVAC contractor to inspect those things. The home inspection usually occurs within 7 business days after the contract is accepted.

 

Inspection

 

The buyer will schedule the inspection and his/her Realtor will confirm the day/time work for us. Most inspectors do not work evenings or weekends so usually the inspection takes place during a week day. It’s important that the home inspection occur quickly.

 

Sellers should not be present for the home inspection. Instead, it’s a time for the buyer and the buyer’s Realtor to be alone in the property with the inspector. For condos, plan to be gone for 2 hours. For single family homes, the inspection can take 3 – 4 hours depending on the size of the home. The home should look just like it did for the showings with beds made, dishes put away, pets out of the home, etc. 

 

After the inspection, the inspector will send the report to the buyer, usually within 24 hours of the inspection. Then the buyer will need to review the report and decide if there are any deficiencies for which they wish to request repairs.

 

The buyer’s Realtor will send the official Inspection and Due Diligence Response and Contingency Removal with any deficiencies and repairs the buyer is requesting. At this point the seller has a few options: agree to remedy all the items requested, agree to remedy some but not all, offer money in lieu of repairs, or simply decline to remedy any items. 

 

Repairs

 

If major problems are found during the inspection, the buyer does have the right to walk away from the deal and the deposit will be returned to him/her. Otherwise, if we’re able to come to an agreement, each party signs that they accept the other’s response and elect to proceed to the act of sale

 

Any agreed upon repairs need to be completed prior to the final walk through which occurs within 5 days before closing and receipts need to be provided to the buyer showing the required work was completed and paid for in full prior to the walk through.

 

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

Leslie GreenThe Pat Wattam Five Star Team

May 13, 2021

4 Drainage Related Issues

Y’all, we have to talk! Baton Rouge, Louisiana gets 63 inches of rain, on average, per year. The US average is 38 inches of rain per year. With all that rain comes the issue of DRAINAGE!

Water

Most homeowners and, unfortunately, many builders do not fully understand proper drainage. The key to good drainage is simple: water flows downhill. When it collects in a large area or flows a great distance, it has the potential to create significant problems.

Soggy, poorly graded ground is certain doom for lawns, shrubs and plants. Poorly drained runoff from roofs can flow inside your home through foundational cracks or leaks, where it can warp floorboards and turn finished rooms into mildewy messes. If it’s a raised house (pier & beam) water can collect underneath the house and cause the floors to warp and have is the perfect environment for mold & mildew!

Prospective home buyers should check out four drainage-related issues before signing on the dotted line:

1-Walk the perimeter of the house. Make sure to check and see if the dirt adjacent to the foundation slopes away from the house. If the grading of the property slopes toward the home, this could lead to damp or wet crawl spaces, structural damage and toxic mold.

2-Find the rain gutter downspouts. Do they drain directly to the ground? Has the water created a low spot for water to collect adjacent to the home? If so, there’s a good chance there is water intrusion somewhere. Take a look at the water flow through the downspouts to make sure the water moves freely away from the home, especially the foundation. Further, make sure gutter downspouts are carrying water at least 10 feet away from the home. Gutters are also a source of wood rot along the fascia boards if they are clogged with leaves.

3-Look for cracks in the exterior walls and foundation. If a quarter can slip into a crack of the foundation, it is a sign that there are settling issues. Primary culprits of major cracks are gutters and downspouts that have failed to deliver runoff water far enough away from the foundation.

4-When buying new, ask about the drainage plan. Most problems with new homes relate to drainage issues. If you are buying a newly-constructed home, make sure you understand how a property drains before you buy. If possible, during a heavy rain, visit the site and observe how the water flows. You’ll then be able to discuss any drainage concerns with the builder and get his plan for dealing with potential problems.

An important part of buying any home is investigating its potential problems and hazards. Overlooking potential drainage trouble spots could very well mean hundreds if not thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs later on.

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

Leslie GreenThe Pat Wattam Five Star Team logo

May 11, 2021

Tips on Buying During This Crazy Real Estate Market

So as a home buyer you are probably already aware that we have a crazy real estate market.  Limited inventory of homes for sale, homes selling for over list price, homes with multiple offers the first few hours, sellers unwilling to assist with closing costs, etc, etc, etc.  What's a home buyer to do?  

First, let me assure you that there are plenty of homes for sale in the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market.  However you might have to make a compromise on what you want.  Let's start there.  Many home buyers want a 'turn key' home, meaning they don't have to do anything to the home but move in.  Guess what?  There are sellers out there who don't want to do anything to their home to get it ready for market except for the normal things like fixing damaged wood, or replacing a roof or AC as needed.  But these same sellers aren't willing to change out their counter tops, of the color of their wall, and you sure don't won't them changing out their carpet especially if they have pets - wouldn't you rather put in brand new carpet that no one else has been on?  The homes that are in TOO CONDITION in CERTAIN price ranges do sell very fast, and possibly with multiple offers that will drive up the price.  But these other sellers that are normal homes that need your PERSONAL touch are willing to NEGOTIATE with you.  Perhaps they will pay your closing costs and you can use that money to update the house.  Remember, unless you are moving walls, all the cosmetic things can be done as you can afford them.  Don't let the color of the walls, flooring, or types of counter tops discourage you from buying a home.  Just NEGOTIATE to get what you want!

But if you have to have the perfect house, then you need to arm yourself with with everything you can to put yourself in the very best light.  It's hard to win if you are competing with a cash offer.  It's hard to win if you are asking for closing costs so make sure before you start making offers you have the money to pay your own closing costs.  Another way to win an offer is to tighten up or forego the inspection.  Before you make an offer, have your REALTOR call the inspector you want to use and see how quickly they can do the inspection.  Here's a great tip that no one is thinking about it seems.  Find out the sellers time frame for moving.  Perhaps if you let them stay 30 or 60 days after closing YOU will win the offer.  And one more thing.  Those pre-qual letters your lender gives you means nothing to me UNLESS it specifically states the lender has run your file through desktop underwriting, that they have looked at your credit score and debt to income ratio AND have verified that you do have the cash necessary to close.  Using these tips will give you the best shot at winning in a multiple offer situation.  Of course, if you are working with our Five Star Team, we will guide you!  

Watch this Video as Pat Wattam Explains how all this works!