Friday, July 10, 2015

Get the Buyer to Stay A Little Longer Viewing Your House

It's hot out there and buyers are hot and tired by the time they look at a couple of houses.  Want those home buyers to stay in your house and look at it a little longer - make them feel at home there?  First, crank up that AC - get that temperature down so that it hits them when they first walk in.  They will breathe a sigh of relief.  They might even sit down for a minute - especially if you leave out some nice, cold lemonade - not in plastic cups they can take with them but regular glasses so that they have to stay in your house a little longer and enjoy the refreshments.  I even had one seller freeze some fruit and then leave it out - cut in little chunks.  Very refreshing!    See if these tips don't help you get a buyer for your house to make the offer!!!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Why Is My Closing Delayed?

This is a Big question I get from buyers and sellers - Why Is My Closing DELAYED?!!!!  For a buyer, it is very frustrating as they have given the lender everything that was required at the beginning.  Now, it's time to get ready to move and they are asking for even more documentation!  And the buyer has to get an extension from the seller. What if the seller will not give them one?  What if the seller received an acceptable back up offer for more money or from a cash buyer?  Doesn't the seller have to extend since it's just a few more days?
First, the seller does NOT HAVE to extend.  I have seen it happen.  The seller is just waiting for the buyer to mis-step, ask for repairs, ask for extensions, etc so they can cancel that purchase agreement and go with a better one that they have received.  Buyer asks, doesn't the seller HAVE to let us know they have another offer.  That answer again is NO.  
As a buyer, what can you do to prevent delays?  I can't guarantee that you can prevent a delay to your closing but you can certainly hedge your bets by doing these items:
1.  Make sure your taxes have been property filed timely.  If you filed late, let your lender know up front BEFORE you write the offer, and see if that will pose any problems.  This is probably the number one reason a strong buyer has their closing delayed.
2.  If you have any issues that your lender sees up front BEFORE you write the offer, get those issues cleared up.  If you need a vendor to make corrections to your credit report, you are at their mercy.  They will get to it when they get to it.  They have no vested interest in doing it timely for you.  Get this done before before writing the offer on the house.
3.  When you do your pre-approval, see if the lender sees any potential issues that needs to be addressed up front.  
4.  Ask you lender how long they need to close the loan (another big issue - you need to know how much time your lender needs - don't assume they can get it done in 30 days).
5.  If getting a Rural Development loand know that they are always seeming to run behind.  Your lender can tell you how much extra time you need to add to make sure you don't have to ask for an extension later on.
6.  And perhaps, one of the best things you can do to make sure you close on time is selecting the right Realtor and have them recommend several lenders that they have had success with.
Call us today to help you purchase your home and close timely!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Five Steps to a Success Real Estate Closing

In Louisiana, there are 5 MAJOR steps to a successful real estate closing that a seller should pay particular attention to. For the buyer, they are busy getting their loan approved and packing, and they really aren't aware that the seller's hands are tied until the buyer knows for sure that they are approved and can close. Imagine how the seller feels, when they are busy packing, their loan was approved weeks ago, and they are preparing for their move, only to find out the buyer doesn't qualify, or needs to provide another document to the lender, or the lender discovers at the last minute that the buyer has not filed their income tax for the year and that has to be completed in order to close. Very frustrating for all. And for the buyer, to find out at the last minute that they have an issue - how very disappointing. As I have said many times, do your homework up front - buyer get credit approved so that all you have to do is get an inspection and appraisal on the home you select. For sellers, don't disappoint the buyer by not taking care of the maintenance on your home which will show up in the home inspection!

So, here are your steps!

1. Purchase Agreement - yes, someone has to offer to buy and someone has to agree to sell - at acceptable terms for all. This really is step one!

2. Inspection - the home has to pass the inspection the buyer has on the home. It is not to turn an old house into the same condition as a new one but nobody wants to buy someone else's deferred maintenance. The sale can fall through right here if the buyer and seller are not in agreement on repairs.

3. Appraisal - the house must appraise for the sales price. A client asked me the other day why this was important. If the buyer is willing to pay $x then what's the deal with the lender! Seriously!! The bank is the one lending the money and if the buyer defaults, the lender ends up having to sell the house!

4. Loan Approval - as mentioned earlier, this should NEVER be an issue. Buyers, get this taken care of first!!

5. Closing - should be an exciting day but if the buyers file is randomly selected for review, closing can be delayed. If the seller has already moved out and the closing is delayed, where do they go? Who pays? Give the sellers a couple of days after closing to move out to make sure the loan closes. Sellers, if they give you a couple of days, make sure you give them a home in tip top condition - nice and clean!

The Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First strives to make sure our buyers and sellers are prepared so that there are no surprises and everybody knows they will have a successful closing! Call us today at 225-298-6900 and let us help you with the process!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Settlement at Willow Grove in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Back in the day when I rode horses, a favorite place to ride was the Kleinpeter Farm on Perkins Road. Fast forward to today, and now we have this upscale planned community for people with a busy lifestyle - The Settlement at Willow Grove.

The rooftops tell the story of the types of homes you will find here Low maintenance yards, a feeling of community with the design of the subdivision. Central to that concept is the extensive incorporation of green spaces and tree-lined walkways opening to 10 beautifully designed parks featuring landscaped gardens, fountains and benches. At the back of the subdivision is a lovely park with playground equipment, pool with poolhouse, and ampitheater setting. Just imagine strolling the sidewalks or riding your bike to the pool.

Your neighborhood is self contained and yet, you are steps away from Perkins Rowe with restaurants, shops, and a movie theater and also the larger, Mall of Louisiana!

When you think of the homes for sale in the Settlement at Willow Grow, the first person you think of is Gayle Carmouche with LaFosse Home Builders. Her track record of bringing upscale homes to many owners in River Ranch in Lafayette has been repeated here in the Settlement at Willow Grove. Whether you are interested in one of her spec homes or a custom build, you will not find a builder more attentive to your needs. LaFosse Home Builders are represented by RE/MAX First Agents, Pat Wattam and Dorsey Peek.

At the front of the subdivision you will find the Village Village Center. A Bistro is already open and you can see the progress as the businesses are built. This harkens back to the idea of a village square, complete with brick pavers and an eclectic mixture of charming shops, restaurants and offices. Central to the center will be a pedestrian plaza featuring a 16 foot fountain, benches and trees, offering the perfect verandas for relaxing, sipping coffee or taking a stroll. Activities such as concerts and special events will beckon residents to the plaza to enjoy The Village’s ambiance and energy.

Located in the heart of Baton Rouge on Perkins Road between Bluebonnet and Siegen Lane - The Settlement at Willow Grove, coupled with LaFosse Home Builders, gives you a great selection of homes to choose from. For more information contact Pat Wattam at RE/MAX First.

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!

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!

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 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!