Sunday, March 02, 2014

 

Mardi Gras and the Spring Market

After a winter we all are not used to, Mardi Gras, thank goodness, is here with good weather to boot. As the temps heated up this past week in Baton Rouge, 79 degrees, the buyers are back out looking at houses, offers are coming in - just a sign of things to come. With a strong economy and low unemployment, the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate market will see another banner year in 2014. We always thought the 'Katrina' years would not be beat, but we proved ourselves wrong on that in 2012 on my team - our best year ever! Last year sales were even stronger. The best evidence of that is the amount of inventory on the market. Baton Rouge has shrunk to a 4 month supply of available houses, and Ascension Parish runs between 2 and 3 months. What has that done to pricing? So far, we haven't seen prices approach the Katrina years but if inventory remains low, prices have to rise. If interest rates remain low, then prices will climb. If interest rates rise, as expected, then prices will stay stable as they always have in our area. So, if you are thinking of selling, give us a call. We will help you decide what you need to do to get your house ready for market. If you are thinking of buying, then set up a buyer counseling interview so we can show you how to go about finding the perfect house and making it yours!! The Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First is always here to help!

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

 

Get Ready to Sell Your House in the Spring

As winter slowly starts to turn to spring and flowers start blooming, grass turn green, and the weather gets warmer people start thinking about putting their home up for sale. There is a reason we have the majority of real estate closings in the summer - it's when children are out of school and moving is easier! For you sellers to get ready to capitalize on this, there are 3 main things you need to do to get your house ready for the spring market. 1. Have the home professionally inspected. You want someone to look at your home objectively. All of us live with little quirky things in our house, but the next buyer doesn't want to giggle the knob to make something turn on! It's better to find out the issues before you negotiate a price with a buyer and then they have a home Inspection and you now have to spend thousands of dollars on things that should have been taken care of earlier! I have seen this more often than not! Once you have completed the inspection and any repairs then move on to the next step! 2. De-clutter and de-personalize the house. Remember, you don't need to have all your personal collections out to show them off to the buyer. You want the buyer to be able to visualize themselves and their collectibles in their new home. Be brutal. Get rid of all that stuff! In staging we call anything smaller than a bowling ball 'house dandruff'!!!! I have a LOT of dandruff in my home and I'll bet you do too!!! So that special group of collections you have - whether it's snow village or all those family photos - all of that needs to be put away. Counter tops need to be cleared off, 90% of the stuff in the bookshelves needs to be boxed up and put away. And those closets! If yours looks like mine, then box it up, move it to climate controlled storage until it's time to bring it to the new house. Once you have de-cluttered and cleaned take a photo of each room with your cell phone. Take a hard look. This is how your house will look on the internet. Does it still look cluttered? Do you need to remove some furniture, take more things off the wall? If not, move on to the next, really fun step! 3. Now it's time to stage the house from outside to in. The outside has to be attractive to 'invite' a buyer inside. Fresh mulch and flowers can make the front of the house fresh - as will power washing the drive way and sidewalk as well as the house, or freshening up the paint with current colors (Please, no mauve, pink, blue, etc). Then, with the help of a stager or professional decorator you can make decisions on color. No weird or bight colors and as much as I love red - most people do not! You can't go wrong with warm neutral wall colors. You just have one shot at hooking a buyer so make sure that everything is ready before going on the market. Your house needs to be prettier than the competition. The neutral colors will help the buyer see their own furniture and decorations in the house and generate an offer for you! You want to make the buyer feel compelled to make an offer before they let it slip away! And give yourself a time frame and a budget to get the house ready. The Pat Wattam Team is here to help you make your dreams come true. Let us come take a look at your house with you and give you some tips and suggestions. We can show you what the other homes for sale look like so that you can decide how much of the house needs to be redone in order to sell. Give us a call and take advantage of the spring market!

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

 

Real Estate in Baton Rouge Flourishes!

2012 was a banner year for real estate sales in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. We won't have the final tally until the 2nd full week in January, but up to this point, our whole MLS has improved in sales volume by over 12%, with East Baton Rouge real estate sales volume up 15%! The number of homes for sale and the actual number of homes sold are up, the average sales price is a down a little, but this is a very healthy real estate market. If this trend continues, we could expect to start slipping into a 'sellers market'! The supply of homes for sale in East Baton Rouge is under 8 months but in Ascension is it under a 6 month supply. What does this mean? For sellers, the homes that are selling are not only priced competitively but are also in excellent condition - meaning the home is current on the colors, updates, etc. For the buyers, this means that the days of making low ball offers on homes is coming to an end. Personally, we had 7 homes last year with multiple offers on them where in 2011 we had none. Buyers, if you really like a house, make a good offer! To start your home search in the Greater Baton Rouge Area go to http://search.batonrougerealestate.com/idx/10545/advancedSearch.php and put in your criteria and see what you find! My team is ready to help you any time - whether buying or selling, give us a call!

Friday, May 25, 2012

 

Baton Rouge - a Happening Place for Memorial Day Weekend!

Who would have thought that Baton Rouge, LA would be a destination for Memorial Day weekend! With Country Fest it has become just that - THE place to be this weekend. With top country acts such as Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts there is something for everyone! The fun starts Saturday at 11:30 at LSU's Tiger Stadium with Keith Urban starting his show at 10 pm. And then Sunday kicks off again at 11:30 and Rascal Flatts closes down with their set starting at 10pm. If country music isn't your thing, check out the Baton Rouge Concert Band's annual Memorial day concert at 7 pm Monday at the steps of the State Capitol. It's FREE!! And, today don't miss the LIVE after FIVE from 5-8 on North Blvd Featuring Brandin Giles. FREE Need to entertain the little ones? Saturday is Safari night at the Baton Rouge zoo. From 6:30-9:30 you can experience waling tours, animal encounters, and hands-on activities. Designed for groups of 15 minimum. Call 225-775-3877. Have a happy and safe Memorial weekend in Baton Rouge as we remember our service men and women.

Monday, April 23, 2012

 

Save Money on Your Utility Bill

Save Money...Be Comfortable Automatic thermostats can lower your monthly utility costs while conveniently regulating your comfort by adjusting temperatures on your heating and cooling systems. These can be particularly effective in homes with zoned systems where you live in one area during the day but sleep in a different zone. There are programmable thermostats available at home improvement stores that can make the adjustments for specific times during the day and specific days of the week. They'll allow you to override the setting when needed without tampering with the programming. They'll even remind you to change your filter. An exciting development is the Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that allows adjustments from any Internet connection such as computer or Smartphone. Imagine how convenient it can be to change your temperature from the car before you get home. Reasonably priced under $100 for most models, it makes it easy to recapture the cost of the thermostat quickly. Most of the thermostats are designed for do-it-yourselfers; however, you can always have a heating and cooling professional install it for you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

 

Creating Home Inventory Can Save You Money!

Have You Backed Up Your Home? Personal computers have been around long enough that everyone has experienced or knows someone who has lost their data due to a hard drive crash, accident or burglary. If they had a backup, the loss was inconvenient but not critical. Do you have a backup for your personal belongings? Not that you need duplicates of all the items but do you have a journal listing of all the items with a description and their approximate values? That record becomes the backup that supports the claim for your insurance. If a building sustains a total loss, the insurance company will usually pay the face amount of the policy. When it comes to personal property which might be 40% to 50% of the insured value of the dwelling, the insurance company is going to expect an accounting with receipts or at least, a relatively recent inventory. The better your inventory, the less likely you'll have difficulty with the claim. Almost everyone has a digital camera that can take stills and probably even videos. The combination of the images as well as a written description will help you replace the belongings and serve as proof to the insurance company. Once you've made the inventory, store it off site for safe keeping. Online storage in the "cloud" might be the best place to insure you'll always know where it is. Contact me for a free Home Inventory form; it's my way of helping you be a better homeowner.

Monday, April 09, 2012

 
MID Limited per Residence A recent U.S. Tax Court ruling clarified the IRS position that the $1.1 million limit for mortgage interest deduction applies per residence and not per taxpayer as some high-priced homeowners were hoping. A married homeowner filing jointly can have fully deductible interest on a mortgage of up to $1,000,000 of acquisition debt and up to an additional $100,000 of home equity debt. If the married couple files separately, each party is limited to deducting the interest on half of those maximum amounts. The court case came about when two unmarried individuals who owned a home together as joint tenants felt that they were entitled to deduct the interest on $1.1 million of debt each. IRS did not agree with their understanding and neither did the Tax Court. The Court ruled that the limits apply per residence, not per taxpayer even if a home is co-owned by unmarried taxpayers. The result for the taxpayers in this case was that their deduction was cut in half resulting in much more income tax due. While this situation only affects a few taxpayers, homeowners in this position should have a discussion with their tax professional.

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