5 Valuable Tips For The Spring Seller

Spring House

 5 Valuable Tips For The Spring Seller

With Spring right upon us, the real estate market is sure to heat up.  If  you are considering putting your home on the market, or it has been on the market since before the new year, I will share with you 5 valuable tips to help you rake in those offers.

1. De-clutter Your Home

We all tend to collect extra items during the holiday season, and surround ourselves with more unnecessary “rick-rack” during these cooler months.  The additional clutter inside our homes can turn off even the most motivated buyer.  Spring is a great time to sort through your home and remove any unnecessary items from your living space, closets, and garage.Donations

You can always pack up your favorite things that have accumulated and store them in an attic or basement.  Items that you are willing to part with, such as clothing that is out of style or no longer fits, decor that you have become tiresome of, and anything else with life left in it, can be donated.  This will clear out some space and can give you a tax write off for April 15th.

As you remove items, you will also be giving the prospective Buyers a better view of where their belongings will fit, if they were to purchase your home.

2. Light & Bright Decor

PillowsSpring is a great time to pull out the light, breezy and most colorful items of decor that you may have for your home.  Start by adding some colorful throw pillows, area rugs and bedding. A few pops of color here and there can change the way an entire room feels with minimal expense and labor on your part.  Don’t limit color and pizazz to one or two main rooms, in addition the kitchen is often a forgotten place to add decor. Buyer’s tend to gravitate toward the kitchen on showing appointments, therefore don’t be afraid to jazz it up.  Most of all, remember, a little goes a long way in decorating.

3. Step Outside

When Buyers look at Homes For Sale in your area, you want to get a jump on the competitions curb appeal.  By adding a few colorful bedding plants, and mowing the grass, your yard will Gardencome alive!  Take inventory of dirty sidewalks, driveways and the exterior of your home.  If need be, hire a professional to pressure wash away the winter.  If you want to save some cash, you can rent a pressure washer at your local hardware store, and do the work yourself.

4. Don’t Miss A Great Photo Op

Whether or not your home is a new, or existing listing, be sure to check your online photos. , This is a great time to take current photos, especially relevant if your photographs are from the cooler months.  By now, you have spruced up the curb appeal, added color and cleaned, mowed and mulched, so use that hard work to your marketing advantage.  In addition to updating your exterior photos, use this opportunity to snap some current shots of the interior of your home.  Ask your REALTOR® to come back out and update your online images.

5. Priced To Sell

%UpIn conclusion, Spring is a great time to put your home on the market. Make selling your home a breeze, by following these tips, and more that can be found at www.nolahomesearch.com.

 

The Fontainebleau Area of New Orleans

homes in NOLA Neighborhoods

The Fontainebleau Area of New Orleans

A subdistrict of Uptown New Orleans, the neighborhood of Fontainebleau is considered one of the quietest neighborhoods in the city.  Located near major transportation routes, the gorgeous, large, canopy trees and old-fashioned neighborhood atmosphere are just part of the abundant appeal of this area.  Many New Orleans residents actually consider Fontainebleau to be “halfway to everywhere!”

The Neighborhood

This neighborhood’s quiet streets and small-town charm have also made this area a popular place to live for families and young couples, which ensures a thriving atmosphere with excellent amenities.  The great schools in the area help to continue the legacy of security, with high graduation rates and impressive programs.  Homebuyers interested in buying a home in Fontainebleau will love the variety of home styles available, as well as the price range of homes for sale between $170,000 to $875,000.  Many of the houses in this neighborhood reflect the Craftsman period in which they were originally built, with California Bungalow and Mission Revival influences.  The homes vary in price depending upon the property’s style, age, size, location and special features.

Location, Location, Location

The excellent location of Fontainebleau is also a huge selling point for this neighborhood, with popular routes making it easy to travel downtown for work, to the universities, and to shopping and dining destinations.  Ranked as the 9th most livable neighborhood in the Louisiana, Fontainebleau is a great place to buy a home.

If you would like to buy a home in Fontainebleau, New Orleans, please do not hesitate to contact us today!

 

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Broadmoor New Orleans

broadmoor homes for sale

Broadmoor New Orleans

Along the Mississippi River in the southeastern part of Louisiana, you will find the culturally rich city of New Orleans.  One of the most visited cities in the United States, as well as one of the oldest, New Orleans is home to an abundance of historical points of interest and other major attractions.  From the stately mansions along St. Charles Avenue, to the exhilarating clubs on Frenchmen Street, New Orleans is home to endless opportunities for shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation.  But this remarkable city isn’t just a great place to visit, it is also a great place to call home.  One of its wonderful neighborhoods is the Broadmoor neighborhood.

In the Uptown part of New Orleans you’ll find the peaceful neighborhood of Broadmoor.  Broadmoor is a quiet place with more than 7,000 residents and gorgeous historic homes.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Broadmoor Historic District is found within the neighborhood that is home to graduate students, young professionals and families.  Broadmoor is bounded by Eve Street on the north, South Claiborne Avenue on the south, Toledano Street and Washington Avenue on the east, and Jefferson Avenue, Nashville Avenue, Octavia Street, and South Rocheblave Street on the west.  Homes for sale in the Broadmoor neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans vary depending upon a number of factors including the property’s age, size, style, location and special features.  There are exceptions but typically homes in this neighborhood will range from around $119,000 to $485,000.

If you would like more information regarding homes for sale in Broadmoor of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, please do not hesitate to contact us today.


Browse Homes For Sale In And Around Broadmoor

Real Estate and Technology

real-estate-and-technology

Real Estate and Technology

The business of real estate has changed very little in the last few decades. What has changed is the way that both agents and brokers advertise their listings and interact with consumers in the market, as well as the way the consumer searches for homes or properties in the area. In the past about the only technology needed in the real estate world may have been the calculator. This is not the case today. We all know and actively use technology in some form or another in our lives today. Technology changes at such a fast pace that the device we purchased yesterday is already outdated today. But what has that technology done for the business of real estate from the perspective of both the agents and the buyer?

How Buying a Home Has Changed

Consumers are researching and shopping for real estate from the comfort of a recliner, on their lunch break, or at a coffee house sipping on a Latte’.  Gone are the days of sifting through the newspapers and other advertisements browsing through hundreds, if not thousands of listings in any particular area. Many years ago these methods were the normal means of finding a home or property that would meet the consumer’s needs. Today consumers are able to browse listings in any area of the world from the comfort of their home. Computers, smartphones, and other mobile devices provide the consumer with all the information about the home or property in one convenient location. Years ago listings would only have a single picture or two and have very little detail about the listing. Today consumers can view multiple pictures of the property or home. Some companies will have a 3D tour of the home available on their website. With the available technology and reasonable web hosting, even the little guys in the industry can have a well-designed website that helps promote them and their business for a small investment.

Real Estate Marketing

How the real estate company advertises the listing is a big part of how technology has changed the real estate business. There is far more to selling a home or property today than simply posting it on a real estate website. Everyone in the real estate business either has a website or they work for a larger company that has a website. But it does not stop there by any means. One of the most powerful tools in the agent/brokers tool belt is social media. We are talking about Facebook, Instagram, Myspace, Twitter, and many more social websites. These sites are all about advertisement, communication, and profit. In a way, social media is the new business card. Social media has the advertising potential to be a tidal wave of new clients looking to buy what the agent or broker is selling. One post on a social media site can quickly reach thousands or millions of individuals in a very short period of time. Reaching that many potential clients in a short time was unheard of only a few decades ago. This has caused an explosion of sorts in the industry. This means more jobs in the real estate market as well as a bit more competition which keeps market values and prices from reaching outrageous heights.

Real Estate Websites

The websites consumers visit has changed also. Some of the industry giants have the more elaborate websites. Although bells and whistles do not necessarily make for the better product, it is still nice to dazzle the consumer.  This was a complicated process even before smartphones and tablets. The rise in mobile device usage has grown so fast in the last few years that all the websites had to make their content available on mobile platforms and operating systems. This cost the real estate companies some investment but, the returns on that investment were well worth it.  Local real estate websites have access to IDX which lets them display all listings by all brokers.  Most of the larger real estate portals do not have this.  They rely on agents manually uploading real estate listings to their database.  With today’s real estate technology, you can now also zoom in on a particular real estate market or area.  For instance, if you are interested in Homes For Sale In Lakeview New Orleans, you can find a website that specializes in just that.  Not only will you see all of the available listings, but get community information and other statistics on exactly the area you are looking to live.

More Advanced Property Search

So, what does all this mean for both the broker and the consumer? For the broker, this means that they are no longer confined to either the office or the location of the property for a showing. Social media websites provide a place to communicate or advertise a company or listing, reaching more people than ever imagined before.  As an agent or broker, many aspects of the job can be done remotely. Pictures and video clips of homes and properties can be uploaded to a website from anywhere in the world with an internet connection giving the agents and brokers the freedom and flexibility to be anywhere at any time.  For the consumer, this means that any Starbucks or Olive Garden could be the place where you find that dream home. Consumers looking for a new house in New Orleans can now search all NOLA homes for sale from just about anywhere.  In some cases that dream home can be found and purchased without ever leaving home. There is no right or wrong way to shop or buy real estate in today’s digital world. Find what methods work for you and happy hunting.

 

 

 

Fiduciary – What Your REALTOR Owes You

Fiduciary - What Your REALTOR Owes You

What Your REALTORS Owes You – Their Fiduciary Responsibility

What in the world is a Fiduciary?

 

Fiduciary.  What does that mean?  This strange word has an extremely important meaning, one which I hope this article helps more owners of real estate property understand when they’re getting ready to hire their next real estate agent or broker.

 

Fiduciary, pronounced “fah-doo-she-air-ee”, is a Latin word which literally means “to trust”.  Here in the US, in many practices such as Law, Real Estate, Finance, and a host of other professions, a person in a fiduciary role is someone who not only has a moral obligation, but almost always, a legal obligation to act in a trustworthy manner, putting the client’s financial interests ahead of his or her own.  On the surface it may seem simplistic, but to fully understand one’s fiduciary responsibility, one has to recognize the scope and breadth that this strange little Latin word brings to the table.  In practice, it means that whoever you’re trusting with your money, health, safety, etc., they have the literal and legal obligation to put their clients’ interest in front of their own.

 

Fiduciary in Real Estate

 

Admittedly, the real estate profession can be difficult, demanding, and downright drudgery, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to the law and the REALTOR’s obligations to his or her client.  It can be said a thousand times over, anyone in a fiduciary role must have the ability to put their client’s financial interests first.  This can be difficult for many real estate agents to understand, and even harder for them to follow.  Not to disparage the majority of honest upstanding real estate professionals, it’s not a far stretch to say that a lot of agents get caught up focusing on their own personal profits and interests first.

 

Why wouldn’t they?  They’re doing all the work, right?  Well yes, but that work is provided by and purely for the benefit of the home seller or home buyer first.  The agent is no more than second in line.  How does this get complicated?  Well, any and all agents involved in a sales or purchase deal have to be able to balance the fiduciary responsibility of their clients.  Every real estate agent must clearly understand that both sides, buyer and seller, have different goals, needs, wants, and interests.  A buyer, searching for homes for sale wants to get the best deal possible, which often translates into the lowest price possible.  A seller also wants to get the best deal possible, but to them, the highest price is usually more what they’re looking for.  So how do real estate agents get the highest price for the seller, while still getting the lowest price for the buyer?  Well, let’s just say it’s more of an art than a science.

 

The Sides of a Real Estate Sale

 

In the majority of home sales transactions, there are usually two agents involved.  One who represents the buyer and another who represents the seller.  In this situation, both agents have to negotiate together to get to the best middle ground deal between what each of their clients wants.  There is always give and take in home sales transactions.  One side gives a little, the other side takes a little, then the tables turn and then the process repeats itself again until a final, final agreement is struck.  Real estate agents do work hard for their money, and contrary to some opinions, they are not overpaid for their services.  Negotiations can be difficult, time consuming, and a royal pain in the butt.  Things can even be harder when one agent is new or inexperienced and the other agent has to take a leadership role guiding his/her equally paid counterpart through every aspect of the settlement.  But at the end of the day, the deal that gets struck has to benefit the client first.

 

What Your Real Estate Agent Owes You

 

Your REALTOR owes you a fiduciary, meaning they should always have your best interests BEFORE their own.  If it comes down to buying the home of your dreams in Lakeview, but your agent has another home for sale in which they would make more money, they owe it to you to put you in the home that fits you best…legally.

Renting vs. Buying a Home

buy vs rent

Renting vs Buying

Considerations and steps to take before buying a home

For the past several years, it’s been widely known and accepted that a majority of potential home buyers have opted to rent a house as opposed to buying a home of their own.  The primary reasons for this shift in the real estate market, is that for a number of years, it has been generally cheaper to rent than to buy; and also, coming out of the Great Recession, many people who wanted to buy a home in Lakeview couldn’t due to life-circumstance issues such as a job loss, decreases in earnings, and not failing to mention that many mortgage lenders had raised loan approval standards, making it nearly impossible for many good quality home buyers to get loans. Needless to say, a variety of economic factors had made buying a home difficult.  

Fortunately for everyone, times are changing and it’s now easier to buy a home than it has been for the past ten years.  Lenders are making home loans again, interest rates have continued to remain affordable, and as home prices have risen over time, fewer investors are snatching up available real estate inventory purely for the purpose of converting them into rental investment properties.  So, while the answer may have been clear for the last decade, in today’s improved real estate market, the age-old question is coming back to the surface:  “Is it better to rent or to buy?”

Buying a Home Inst Always an Option

For some people, renting is still their only viable option.  But for a significant portion of the population, buying a home is finally becoming attractive again.  In a way, it’s almost unfortunate that home prices are up in most markets, demand is high, and days on market for homes for sale gets shorter and shorter all the time.  This is because the cost of home ownership is higher now than it was five years ago.  But it didn’t matter much when homes were cheap because most interested home buyers couldn’t qualify for a home loan.  Cash became king, and lenders pulled back bigtime, raising loan standards to almost astronomical levels, which, in a way was strangling their own business.  How can a mortgage company survive if they’re not making loans.  Honestly, many of them didn’t.  But the ones who are making loans today are offering attractive terms that are finally pulling many potential home buyers off the fence and getting them back into the real estate buying market.  

Deciding to Rent or Buy

In deciding between renting vs buying, it has always been the consumer’s first choice to own their own homes.  If for no other reason than not having to live under someone else’s thumb.  When you rent, you can’t paint without permission.  You can’t upgrade your home, build on additions, or make many of your own decisions.  For a person renting a home, the landlord is almost always the controlling factor.  When you own your home, it’s nice to be able to make decisions without first needing the landlord’s permission.  Now, getting your spouse’s permission to upgrade or paint your house may still be a challenge, but I’d much rather debate home improvements with my spouse than with my landlord any day.     

Conversely, although the market has rebounded and renters are slowly becoming buyers again, there are some situations in which it isn’t yet possible for a renter to buy a home.  For example, you may need to remain a renter a little longer if you are:

Still fixing your credit:  Many lenders will only consider a credit score of 620 or better. So take the next year or so to catch up on any delinquent accounts, and then open one or two rotating credit accounts for which you will make the payments on time.

Still saving for a down payment:  If it has been longer than seven years since you last owned a home, you may be able to qualify for a first-time home buyer FHA loan with a 3% down payment. However, even on a $200,000 home, that is still $6,000. And then, there are the closing costs. If you don’t have this money saved up, start putting it away now with a goal date in mind for having the full amount saved.

Still trying to get your feet planted:  Now more than ever, lenders look at a potential borrower’s employment profile before approving them for a loan. If you are new to your job, that could easily be a strike against you (especially if your income fluctuates. Lenders want to see that your salary is stable, not sporadic). It is best to have been with your current employer, or at least in your current field, for two years before applying for a home loan.

There are many good, hard-working people renting out homes today; those are the kinds of renters who will, eventually, bridge the gap between renting and home ownership.  If you want to be on the path to home ownership, now is probably a good time to consult your local REALTOR.  Talk with a mortgage lender to find out (for free) if you qualify for a home loan.  Save up money for a down-payment, generally between three to ten percent of the purchase price.  Run your credit report on one of the free online sites and make sure it looks good before going into the mortgage lender’s office.  If you find any problems in your credit, take time to get things fixed before you apply for that new home loan.  If you are still working on any of the above tasks, then you may need to remain a renter for a little longer. But it isn’t permanent; just stay diligent on hitting your goals and you will soon be able to reach the milestone of home ownership.

If you still have questions about what it takes for YOU to buy a new home, always remember that your local REALTOR is there to give you sound advice and point you in the right direction.  Make your choice before housing prices increase too much.  Get down off the fence early, investigate loan options before interest go up, and if really want to buy instead of rent, consult your REALTOR for advice.  

 

Fannie Mae Now Offering Mortgages to Ghosts

fannie mae ghosts

Fannie Mae Now Offering Mortgages to Ghosts

This may immediately have you think back to the days of getting a mortgage for your home with no documentation and putting nothing down, but it looks like it will be a little different this time.

In the financial world, anyone who has no credit and no credit score has been called “a ghost”.  So this headline may not be quite as onerous as it sounds.  One may ask “how can you possibly provide a 30 year mortgage without checking someone’s credit score”.  Well, it’s important to keep in mind, we didn’t have official “credit scores for mortgages” until around 1995.  Home buyers were able to secure a mortgage before then.

How Will Fannie Mae Provide No Credit Report Mortgages?

Fannie will be utilizing a manual process for people requesting a no credit report mortgage.  They will still run a credit report on you, but if the report (from EquifaxExperian or TransUnion) comes back without a credit score, which the case is for people with very little or no credit (ghosts), they now have a new process.  Before, if you didn’t have a credit score, you were immediately disqualified from obtaining a mortgage.

Minimums to Qualify For a Loan

There are some minimum requirements that a ghost will need in order to be approved for a mortgage by Fannie Mae.  You will need a minimum of 10% down payment. This is more than many of the Fannie Mae mortgages, but since the risk goes up without a credit report, you will need more down.  The good side of that is 100% of your 10% down payment can be in the form of a non-repayable gift.  In addition, you will need to live in the home (be your primary residence) and the maximum you qualify for will be $417,000.  Needless to say, speak with your loan officer for all of the details for qualifying for a Fannie May mortgage.

How Will This Affect Lakeview Sales?

“With the influx of a younger generation looking for Lakeview homes for sale, this can be a tremendous boost for Lakeview real estate” says Kathy Marshall of Engel & Völkers, a leading real estate broker in Lakeview New Orleans.  This opens an opportunity to home ownership to a younger generation that may not have established credit, but otherwise a good financial risk.

Why Would Fannie Mae Do This?

Stan Baldwin of Credit Report Seller Information Research said “Thirty percent of bureau data is inaccurate”.  This can cause many otherwise qualified people to not be able to obtain financing on their new home.  Also, with many newcomers to credit, Fannie May doesn’t want to limit potential homeowners, that simply may not have too much credit history, from obtaining home ownership.

What About The Interest Rate?

If you are a ghost and have no credit score, Fannie Mae will put you in their lowest allowable FICO bucket, which is 620.  Since they are simply “assigning you a credit score”, they are putting you in at the low end of the spectrum.  For people (ghosts and otherwise) that get Fannie May approval at the 620 FICO score level will get a hit to the rate of 0.625.  Although people with a credit score of 620 do pay a higher interest rate, considering rates are at historic lows still makes home ownership very affordable.

Is Readily Available?

Keep in mind that a mortgage insurance company needs to insure the remainder of the loan.  That being said, as of now, only Radian and Arch are currently writing mortgage insurance on these types of loan approvals.  Currently Radian is pricing these mortgage insurance rates at 1.10 % above your base interest rate, which seems very affordable.  As more mortgage insurance companies come on line, we expect to see this loan product more widely used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Need To Know About Mold

what you need to know about mold

 

What You Need To Know About Mold

In Real Estate, mold is a “four letter word”.  Any time it comes up, it strikes fear in the hearts and minds of just about everyone, whether they be a renter or a homeowner.  It’s an ambiguous, mysterious marvel that some people care less about and others downright think it will kill them overnight.  Needless to say, there is a lot of misinformation about mold; something that could be used against you to cheat you out of thousands, to tens of thousands of dollars if you don’t know your stuff.  In this article, I’ll go into a few things anyone who lives and breathes needs to know and understand about mold.  

Where Is Mold?

First of all, mold is everywhere.  That’s worth repeating.  Mold is everywhere.  It’s in the air, it’s in your yard, household potted plants, it’s in your flooring, it’s in your bathroom in everything from the sink drain to the toilet reservoir and the bathtub, to the shower curtain, ceiling and walls.  It’s heavily widespread throughout your refrigerator, especially if you have leftovers stored in plastic containers for more than a week.  It’s definitely in your garbage can, and it’s probably in your pantry.  Mold is in and on potatoes, onions, cheese, bread, and can even grow in a leftover glass of Coca-cola it it gets left out for more than three or four days.  So before we move on, let’s all collectively agree that mold is… everywhere.  

What Is Mold?

Mold is a living organism that grows on just about any organic substance when four conditions come together at the right time.  Mold starts out as a “spore”, similar in concept to a seed.  Mold spores are in and on just about everything that exists.  They are super-tiny and blow in the wind, landing on anything and everything.  They get into your home from the air, on your shoes and clothing, and from foods you bring into your house.  Mold spores are extremely common and almost impossible to avoid.  It’s the spores that cause the health risks, not the actual mold itself, so getting the mold under control before it blooms and releases billions of spores into your home is very important.  So let’s look at the whole process.      

How does mold grow?  Well first you need at least one mold spore.  Since mold spores are everywhere, all they need to grow are four other factors:  (1) moisture, (2) proper temperature, (3) a food source, and (4) time.  Just like a seed, mold cannot grow without the proper factors that allow it to germinate, bloom, and spread.  The easiest of the four to control is moisture.  The vast majority of molds absolutely can not grow in a dry environment.  That means here in southern Louisiana, with our humidly, its very hard to get away from.  So, if you have mold, the first step in controlling it is to remove the moisture.  That means to completely dry out the surface the mold is growing on.  Don’t be surprised, however, that drying everything out won’t make the discoloration go away… but the actual mold organism will die soon after the moisture is removed.  Temperature is also an important factor because most household molds grow at room temperature or warmer levels; but as anyone with a refrigerator knows, mold can grow in a cold environment too.  The most common household molds do need warmer temperatures to really get traction and spread, so in warmer months, mold will bloom and spread faster than in colder temps.  As for the food source, that’s a toughie.  Mold likes to eat just about anything organic (natural), including drywall.  Drywall is made of gypsum powder pressed into a sheet and lined with… paper.  Paper is organic, made from wood, and is one of mold’s favorite foods.  The time it takes for mold to grow and spread is dramatically controlled by the quantity of the food source, a constant presence of moisture, and appropriate temperatures.  Given the right conditions, mold can bloom and spread in as little as 2 days.  If you’ve ever experienced a major flooding event like Hurricane Katrina or heavy floods seen in places like Lakeview New Orleans, St Louis Missouri and Houston Texas, you’d know that mold can completely overtake an entire house in a week.  

What To Do About Mold?

The first advice is NOT to panic.  Try to locate the source of moisture and control it.  If you have a leak, shut the water off and get it fixed.  Make a hole in any wet wall and let it dry out from the inside.  Drywall repair is actually pretty easy, so don’t be afraid to cut a hole in the wall.  Be aware that if you have a plumbing leak inside a wall, there is probably way more moisture inside the wall than there is on the outside.  As the water wicks to the outer surface, mold growing on the inside will also spread to the outside.  

Next, evaluate the size of the affected area.  If your mold is contained to a few square feet, most states permit it to be cleaned and repaired by an unlicensed handyman.  Depending other state laws, mold exceeding a certain number of square feet must legally be cleaned by a certified mold remediator.  Check your local and state laws before calling in a mold inspector or remediator.

Be Careful

The final warning is to be wary of any mold inspector who also does cleanup.  This doesn’t mean to not hire them, just exercise caution.  Mold remediation is largely unregulated, meaning that just about anyone can take a week long online course and call themselves a mold inspector and/or remediator.  This lack of regulation makes the mold profession extremely competitive and opens the door for some (not all, but definitely some) mold inspectors to use inappropriate business practices to get the job, such as falsely identifying a non-harmful mold as “toxic black mold” and telling you it’ll kill you if you don’t pay thousands of dollars to let them clean it up.  I’ve personally seen instances where a mushroom grew in someone’s bathroom and an unscrupulous mold inspector told them it was toxic black mold and would cost five thousand dollars to clean up.  When I looked at it, I knew it was a harmless mushroom and cleaned it up with a little bleach water (or Tilex) and a vacuum cleaner.  My method was far cheaper than the other guy’s.  

Lastly, be cautious of any mold inspector who also does remediation (cleanup) work.  If your inspector does not perform remediation, there is less incentive to mislead you.  In fact, in some states, it’s against the law for a mold inspector to also do cleanup.  Check your local laws if you are unsure about this.  The internet is a good source of information about mold, how much is too much, what can and cannot be cleaned by a handyman, or what is legally required to be handled by a professional.  In any case, be cognizant that mold does have a possibility of causing health problems… not always, but sometimes.  Don’t take it lightly, but also, don’t panic and get suckered into spending thousands of dollars to clean up a mushroom.

Using a Real Estate Agent To Buy A Home

using a realtor

Using a Real Estate Agent to buy Your Next Home

As the old adage goes, your home is your castle. Your home, after all, is where you will raise your family, grow old surrounded by your loved ones, and throughout your working life, squirrel away equity in order to live as comfortably as possible in retirement. Finding the right home, is in this case, of paramount importance. The only question is, should you use a dedicated real estate agent to find and buy your next property? Or should you risk attempting to search and buy your next home directly from a current home owner or property developer?

 

Why New Orleans Realtors Still Get Buyers The Best Deals

 

Are you and your family looking to buy property in Lakeview, New Orleans? If so, you benefit from potentially buying property in one of the most enviable suburban areas in the city. However, unless you have the time and resources to become a property agent yourself, your likely going to find it inordinately difficult to find the home of your dreams without the help of a professional real estate agent.

This is because the dream of home-ownership differs significantly from the practical reality of being able to tell the difference between the right property and the wrong property for you and your family.

 

Getting The Best Price Possible

 

To demonstrate, the past eight years have been some of the most turbulent ever, not just in New Orleans but all over the US. 2008 saw millions of homes across America flatline in value. Worse, millions more slipped all the way into negative equity. Of course, the housing market has recovered in leaps and bounds ever since. However, the last thing that you want is to invest in a property where existing property owners present you with what you might not realize is an unreasonable asking price.

Kathy Marshall and other New Orleans real estate agents know the New Orleans housing market inside out. We know what a fair price is. In like regard, we know where in Lakeview you will stand to see your new home appreciate better in value over time.

 

However, licensed real estate agents also benefit from being able to access to the MLS database. Using the MLS database, a Louisiana REALTOR can subsequently find homes for sale which meet your ideal specifications, are within your budget, and which are ideal for both residential and investment purposes.

 

We Protect you & Help You Make More Informed Buying Choices  

 

In many ways, part of a real estate agents job is to protect new home buyers from making impulsive decisions which they might come to regret later. Of course, prevailing fallacies often imply otherwise. However, National Association of Realtors (NAR) realtors, are duty bound put home buyers interests first in any and every real estate transaction. This means that realtors are bound to advertise properties honestly. This and fully disclose everything from known structural problems to any reasons why a property might be priced to sell faster than usual.

In fact, as well as always being able to identify an overpriced property, a real estate agent will often even go so far as to insist (on your behalf) that any necessary repairs are made to a property prior to you agreeing to purchase. 

 

Completely Free & 100% Personal Service

 

The best part about using a real estate agent to help you fall in love with your next property is that you can benefit from local realtor services completely free of charge. What this means is that you get second to none local area expertise coupled with all the help you need to close a sale, as part of what is essentially a gratis service. In this case, don’t try and do thinks the hard way. Reach out today for the professional assistance you deserve and will be able to rely upon, no matter how easy or arduous your next property search.  

Victorian Homes In NOLA

Victorian homes in NOLA

Victorian Homes in New Orleans

Spend any time driving around the city of New Orleans and something you may notice more than any other (when it comes to real estate) and that’s the sheer volume of Victorian influence on so many homes.  It appears that Victorian accents, especially ornate wrought-iron balconies, go with New Orleans like Shrimp and Gumbo.  So what’s with all the Victorian influence on real estate?  Why so many Victorian style homes? It all has to do with New Orleans heritage and goes all the way back to 1803.  In order to understand Victorian style, we have to go over a little history first.

The Louisiana Purchase

Most people have heard of the “Louisiana Purchase” from grade school.  If you aren’t fresh on the details, here’s a quick summary.  In 1803, over two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson, our third president purchased the “Louisiana Territory” from France for a “steal” of a price, which we’ll get to in a minute.  In the early 1700’s France had explored and staked claim to a vast territory that spanned from New Orleans in the south, all the way up the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes and Canadian border to the North, and westward at an angle over to what is Montana today.  France held more “US” territory than any other country at the time.  

Acquisition of the Louisiana Territory

For a brief time, following the French and Indian War, France surrendered much of the Louisiana Territory to Spain, and later, the rest of it to Great Britain.  Spain pretty much just sat around and did nothing with the territory for the entire time they possessed it.  In the late 1700’s, Spain got into a spat with Great Britain and then signed a secret treaty with France, which among other things, secretly returned its share of the territory back to France.   Following some uncertainty in the land due to Napoleon Bonaparte and his world-domination ambitions, the US allied with Great Britain in preparation for some conflict with France.  At the time, the British Navy was the most powerful Navy in the world, so it sent a strong warning to France not to mess with the US, even though they possessed the Louisiana Territory.  Following some brilliant diplomatic maneuvering on the part of the US Government, Thomas Jefferson sent the future president, James Monroe, to France to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans (purely to control access in and out of the Mississippi River).  In a much unexpected surprise offer, France asked if the United States wanted to purchase the entire Louisiana territory for the bargain price of just over $11.5 million dollars… all 838 thousand square miles, at less than three cents per acre!

New Orleans AKA “NOLA”

Victorian homes in new orleansSo now that we know why New Orleans is relevant to the story, we can understand why so much French influence was around, especially on the Western Side of the Southern Mississippi River Valley.  French culture and heritage was everywhere.  And since New Orleans was the wealthy port city, many wealthy French (Europeans) were living there.  Since Victorian style and architecture was so popular in Europe… not just in England – where Victorian style originated (named after Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Ireland from 1837 to 1901) – Victorian architecture had become a widespread style in New Orleans.  Funny thing about Victorian Architecture is that it had actually been around for more than a hundred years before Queen Victoria.  It developed from a variety of styles, all something different from each other, and most commonly confused with “Queen Anne” architecture.  But it was most popular during Queen Victoria’s reign, and it received the name due to England and France’s habit of naming architectural styles after current reigning Monarchs.  

Present Day Victorian Architecture

In present day New Orleans, Victorian Architecture can be observed just about everywhere; most prevalently in the New Orleans French Quarter where most buildings have Victorian style wrought-iron railings on just about every one of the upper story balconies.  The style is extremely prominent, and if you don’t notice it, well, you probably aren’t looking.    

Victorian Home Features

Victorian Architecture of today is most recognized by features such as ornate trim-work, high pointed gables, bright colors, and elaborate sculptured or stained glass windows.  Many Victorian homes are two to three stories in height, have highly decorative wood or stone exterior trim, complicated asymmetrical shapes, textured wall surfaces, and steep pointy roof-lines.  Some high-end Victorian NOLA homes also feature distinctively steep, square or round embellished towers added onto one or more of the four corners of the home.  Almost all Victorian homes have, or at least at one time, had, very bright vibrant colors, but this trend has since become less popular and many Victorian homes of today have settled for less colorful designs.  Probably, in my opinion, because people got tired of buying forty different colors of paint every time the house needed to be repainted.     

Buying a Victorian House

So if you’re fan of Victorian Architecture, without a doubt, you can find examples of it in many cities all throughout the country, but none so concentrated as what you’ll find in New Orleans.  It’s part of the New Orleans history, deeply ingrained in its real estate culture, and prominent in just about every corner of the Crescent City.  If you appreciate Victorian Architecture and are interested in owning a Victorian home yourself, consult your trusted New Orleans REALTOR… Kathy Marshall .  Although Kathy specializes in Lakeview homes, she has intimate knowledge of the Greater New Orleans area. Kathy can assist with pointing out where the best homes are located, what neighborhoods are the best, and ultimately, how to get you the best deal on your beautiful, new (to you) Victorian home.  If you have any questions about New Orleans Architecture or NOLA real estate, we welcome your questions, and look forward to making your next home a Victorian.  

 

First Time Homebuyers – A Complete Guide

first time homebuyers guide

First Time Homebuyers

A Complete Guide

Home ownership is the American Dream, but as a first time home  buyer, the purchasing of your first home can seem overwhelming.  Although there is a tremendous amount of information on buying a home available, there are few complete guides that walk you through the entire process of becoming a homeowner.  No two real estate transactions are the same and very few of them go off without a hitch.  With years of experience in real estate, assisting many people with their first home purchase, we thought we would provide the complete guide for first time home buyers.

Deciding to Buy a Home

Many potential home buyers will start the process by searching homes for sale on the internet.  Although this can be fun, if you are serious about purchasing a home, you will want to be methodical in your steps to home ownership. Home ownership is not for everyone.  For some people, renting a home can be a better plan.  Its best sit down and truly see if owning a home is the right thing for you.  Here is a quick list of things you will want to think about when considering such a large purchase.

You Will Want to Examine How Long You Will Be Living in Your Area.

If you have any inclination to move in the immediate future, renting may be a better option for you.  If you have a job that may force you to leave town, you may not want to be tied down to a home mortgage.  On the other hand, if you feel confident you will continue to live in your current city, or if your job offers relocation assistance, you may want to take advantage of the benefits of home ownership.  If you plan on staying in your current city for an extended period of time, purchasing your first home will start to build equity and long term wealth for you and your family.

Make Sure You Can Financially Sustain a Home

Although in many instances, the note on a new house can be comparable to rents, there are additional costs you will incur.  You will need to pay for homeowners, and possibly flood insurance.  You will most likely incur some sort of a tax bill on your new home.  Lastly, you will need to plan for maintenance and upkeep of your new home.  We have a quick tip on assisting with unexpected repairs, but we will get to that later.

Check Your Credit Score

Many people think they have better credit than they truly do.  It can be easy to forget about a past cell phone bill where you were upset with your carrier and refused to pay!  It’s also not terribly uncommon to have identity theft or a simple credit “mix up” affect your score.  Even the smallest credit infractions can cause you to pay a higher interest rate or even not qualify for a mortgage. Today, it’s easy to get an idea of what is on your personal credit report.  You can first use one of the many free credit reporting services to get an idea of where you stand.  Be aware that these types of credit reporting systems may not be 100% inclusive or give you the most accurate FICO Score, but they are a good start.  Down the road, your mortgage broker will pull a true credit score with all three reporting agencies and let you know exactly where you stand.  If you see anything out of the ordinary in your preliminary credit report, you will want to follow up immediately with the credit reporting agency that shows the error.  These things can take some time to get cleared up.

Find a Mortgage Lender

Finding the right mortgage lender is a critical piece in buying your first home.  In many instances, having the wrong lender can cost you more than overpaying for your home.  As a general rule, you will want to find a local lender, someone that you can meet with face to face.  Your lender needs to be acutely aware of your financial situation and your long term financial goals.  You will want to have someone that comes highly recommended as they must be trustworthy in that they put you into the correct mortgage product.  There are hundreds of options in financing your first home, you can’t be aware of all of the details and will need to rely on the expertise of your mortgage lender.

The Difference Between a Mortgage Broker and a Banker

Many first time home buyers believe that it’s better to go directly to their bank to get their home mortgage.  Although this may be true in some instances, it’s important to know the difference between a bank and a Mortgage Broker.  A bank can give very good rates ON THE FINANCIAL PRODUCTS THEY OFFER.  Most banks have a niche that they cater to, meaning they offer very good deals to a specific borrower.  If you happen to fit that specific mold, your bank may be a good option.  On the other hand, a mortgage broker has many banks and lending institutions that they work with.  They look at your specific financial situation and find the best rate from one of their affiliates.  In many instances, although a mortgage broker has to make some money in the middle, their ability to “shop your loan”, understanding your unique financial situation, can save you money in the long run.

Set Your Budget For Your New Home

Once you have decided on a lender, they will work with you on figuring out exactly how much of a home you can afford.  They will look at your debt to income ratio and a variety of other factors to come up with a monthly mortgage note that you can pay each and every month without putting yourself in a bind.  Once you know the amount you can spend per month, you can then work a little backwards to see what homes for sale you can purchase.  Whether your lender does it for you or you do it yourself, you will want to use an amortization chart to see how expensive of a home you can purchase.  These types of mortgage calculators take into account your down payment and interest rate to show how much of a home your specific circumstance can buy.  You will want to make sure to add in your taxes and your insurance too in an effort to get a full picture.

Get a Pre-Approval Letter

Once you know how much money you can spend on your new home, you will want your lender to provide you with a pre-approval letter.  This is a simple document that shows you have had your credit run and spoken with a lender, who is claiming they will finance your new home for a specific dollar amount. This document will be submitted when you write an offer on a home.  It simply shows that you can purchase the home you are making an offer on, and is a very important part in the home buying process.

This is the first installment of First Time Home buyers – A Complete Guide.  We will update this exact post weekly until fully completed.  In the meantime, if you need immediate assistance for purchasing your first home, feel free to Contact Us directly and we will walk you through the process.

 

 

  • Deciding To Buy A Home
  • Checking Your Credit Score
  • Finding a Mortgage Lender
  • Setting Up Your Budget
  • Getting a Pre-Approval Letter

These are the first things that you need in place if you are considering buying your first home.  In Part 2, we will cover the remainder of the home buying process.

Find An Agent

Many first time home-buyers toy with the idea of not using a real estate agent to purchase their first home.  Many feel that somehow, they will get a “better deal” on a home if an agent is not involved.  This cant be further from the truth.

First of all, using an agent to buy a home is absolutely free from the buyers perspective.  The seller, when listing their home for sale, factors in both the buyers side agent commission as well as the listing agents commission.  So when a purchaser makes an offer on the home of their dreams, the final negotiated price is what you will pay.  The commission comes out of the proceeds from the buyers side.  Because of this, many first time home buyers believe that if they find a home that is NOT listed for sale with a real estate agent, they could “save that commission”.  Let’s go over a couple reasons why that doesn’t work.

First, when a seller chooses to attempt to sell their home without an agent, they are usually doing so to “save the commission”.  Although statistically, it is proven year over year, that using an agent to sell a home nets the seller more money. That being said, some sellers do insist to attempt to sell their home on their own.  Keep in mind, if you are looking at a home, where the seller choose NOT to use a REALTOR, they did so to attempt to save the commission.  Remember back, you are doing the same thing from the buyer perspective.  What you end up with is a seller, who is attempting to make MORE money and a buyer trying to save a commission. There is ONLY ONE COMMISSION — BOTH THE BUYER AND SELLER CANT SAVE IT.  In addition, usually the perspective of the For Sale By Owner is one of getting a higher amount for their home than recommended by an agent.  This means that your agent (from the buyer’s side) would generally say that home is overpriced.  You wouldn’t have that knowledge going in.  In addition, the home buying process can be very tricky, with a lot of money on the line.  You have NO ROOM FOR MISTAKES as they can cost you quite a bit.   We can go on forever all of the reasons to use an agent when purchasing your home, but that would be an entirely new post.

When choosing your agent, it’s important that you pick a REALTOR who is familiar with the area that you want to live.  For instance, if you are looking to buy a home in Lakeview, you would want to use an agent that specializes in Lakeview homes for sale. Each area of New Orleans has its own unique circumstances when purchasing a home and you will want someone familiar with the specifics of your new subdivision.

Set Up Your Property Search

Once you have decided on an agent, you will want them to set you up with a property search.  Needless to say, feel free to search the internet for homes for sale yourself, but understand that websites such as Zillow and Trulia DO NOT HAVE ALL OF THE LISTINGS!  Also, if you are using one of those 3rd party websites, many of the homes you see for sale have already been sold or expired.  The ONLY way to gain access to all of the homes for sale is to have your REALTOR send those to you, or to use a real estate website that is directly connected to the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Only local real estate agents and broker have access directly to the MLS, so ask your REALTOR for some examples of good online search portals.

In addition to searching for homes yourself, your agent should have you set up to automatically receive new listings that come available that specifically fit your search criteria.  This is a critical step in the home buying process.  The hottest and best real estate deals go quickly, so being notified immediately when a new home suits you is important.  If upon looking at the home online, you think it’s a good possibility, let your agent know so they can set up an appointment to view the home ASAP. In some instances, your real estate agent may have already seen the property and can provide some valuable insight.

Placing an Offer On Your New Home

Once you have found the home you wish to purchase, you will want to place an offer.  DO NOT LOWBALL YOUR FIRST OFFER!  Many first time home-buyers think this is a good idea, but in truth it simply creates a bad starting point for negotiations.  Most sellers are emotionally attached to their home and to give a very low offer is insulting.  Have your agent review sold comparables to see how much off the listing price homes are currently selling for in your area.  Have your agent do a CMA on the home to provide its current value.  Lean on your agent for the right first offer.  Some people think that REALTORS want to have you pay more for your home because they make more money—- Nothing can be further from the truth.  First, the amount of additional money an agent makes off of a few thousand dollars is almost nothing.  Good real estate agents understand that a long term client who provides referrals are much better to their bottom line than making an extras $37 dollars on a particular home sale.  In addition, REALTORs have a Fiduciary Responsibility to you, which means they are legally responsible to look out for your best interest above their own.

Get Your Purchase Agreement To Your Lender

One your have finalized the contingencies and price in writing and have a purchase agreement signed by all parties, you will immediately want to get that contract to your lender.  Your lender will have a lot of work to do and this is where they get started.  Be sure to provide your lender with any additional information or documentation that they request IMMEDIATELY.  A very large portion of real estate transactions require at least one extension to the Act of Sale.  In most instances, those extensions are needed because the lender needs information.

Home Inspections

Upon finalizing on the details and price of the home purchase, you will want to set up your home inspections.  When negotiating on your property, your agent has most likely written into the purchase agreement that you will have a period to inspect the home (preferably using a professional home inspector).  Within this period of time, if you find issues with the home you can get out of the contract OR request a reduction in the sales price.  DO NOT use your inspection period as a point of renegotiation unless you find issues with the home that you didn’t see upon viewing it yourself.   This can cause you to lose out on your new home and cause unwanted stress on the sale.  It’s very possible that you may need an extension on your closing date, and the seller will need to approve that in writing….don’t make them an enemy.

Get Insurance Quotes

Since you know the address of your new home, you will need to get the appropriate insurance.  It is usually wise to shop around for the best rate, but make sure that you compare apples to apples.  There are many discount homeowners insurance rates available, but they may not give you the security you need if you ever need to make a claim.  In most instances, your agent can direct you to a reputable insurance agent who will find the right balance between your cost and security.  In addition, your lender will require that a certain amount be insured at the proper levels.

Choose a Title Attorney

You will need to get all of your contracts for the home, as well as your lender information to a Closing Company or Title Attorney.  This is the party that will actually facilitate the closing on your new home.  They will act as an in-between for acquiring your title search, loan documentation, insurance and all needed documentation to buy your home.

Order Your Appraisal

Once you have successfully made it through the inspection period you will want to have your lender order your appraisal.  This too, if not done in a timely manner, can cause a delay in your act of sale.  Keep in mind, any delay or extension to an act of sale must be approved by all parties.  That means you could potentially lose your home and your deposit if the seller chooses to NOT agree to an extension.  Needless to say, there are many contractual details on this, and your REALTOR (who wrote the contract) can walk your through.  Although it can vary from contract to contract, you will generally order your appraisal AFTER your inspections as to avoid paying for an appraisal for a home that you end up not purchasing.  Once again, refer to your agent for details — they are there to protect YOU.

Final Walk Through

Generally speaking, you will want to perform a final walk through of your property either the day of, or the day before your closing.  You will be looking to verify that the home is in the same condition as when you made your offer and that any repairs (per the property inspections) have been completed to your satisfaction.  You will also be verifying that any items you requested to stay in the home are still there.

Attend Your Closing On Your New Home

This is the big day.  This is the day that you sign all of the paperwork and get the keys to your new home.  Make sure to show up to the closing with proper identification and any additional documentation that the closing company or title company may have requested.  In many instances you will also need to bring a certified check (for any additional down payment) to the closing.  DO NOT BRING A PERSONAL CHECK — as they are generally not accepted.

Change The Locks

One of the most overlooked tasks in purchasing a new home is changing the locks.  With all of the excitement and emotions of purchasing your first home, it can easily be overlooked.  Be sure to change ALL of the exterior locks prior to moving in your new home.

Conclusion

Every real estate transaction is unique.  No two sales are identical.  This has been provided to explain the basic steps and processes for buying a home.  It is all but guaranteed that your home purchase will have many aspects to it not mentioned here, but that is why you have an agent to hold your hand and walk you through the process.

 

 

 

Pricing Your Home To Sell Fast

pricing your homes to sell

To get top dollar for his Lakeview home, Mr. X played lowball.  What exactly does that mean?  That means as opposed to listing his home 20 percent ABOVE the market value to “see what happens”, he priced his home for sale below that of comparable homes nearby—and got six offers in four days.

“Our strategy was to list the home UNDER the market value and create a feeding frenzy”.  Says Mr. X. 

Mr. X bought his home in Lakeview 2006 for $425,000 and listed it for sale at $597,000.  He went on to say ”a $605,000 listing price would have been where just about everyone else would list the home at.  Many home sellers would list the home at $650,000 with the hope that someone would fall in love with the property and pay that amount.  Some sellers are stuck in the mindset that aggressively pricing the property could potentially leave money on the table.  Some believe that they can always reduce the price if they are not getting the attention they hope for.”  Kathy Marshall, REALTOR with Delery Comarda REALTORS, went on to say “many homes for sale go under contract within the first 30-45 days, the level attention a particular property gets goes down after that”.

Variables in Pricing a Home To Sell.

There are many variables that must be considered in pricing a home.  It’s important to remember that if a mortgage exists on a home, the interest being paid every month is money literally flushed down the toilet.  For instance, if your home mortgage is $1,500 per month, and $700 of that payment is going toward the principle on the loan, every month you continue to pay that note you are losing $800.  So if you wait an extra 4 months to get your home sold, you have spent $3,200 in interest, if you only sell the home for $3,000 more, you have lost money by waiting.  Other variables on how aggressively you should price your home include the level of competition in the marketplace, homeowners’ insurance premiums, taxes and the time of year you are attempting to sell your home.

The Process for Pricing a Home To Sell

Selling a home can be emotional.  Many homeowners have deep connections with their home and sometimes can skew the pricing accuracy.  There is a certain process for properly pricing a home to sell quickly.  In many instances, the first step is to get the homes true value

Getting Your Home’s Value

real estate statisticsTo get a home’s true value, a REALTOR or Appraiser will find comparable properties (comps) that have recently sold.  Once similar homes, which have recently been sold are chosen, the next step is to make “adjustments to the comps”.  What that means is to simply reduce or increase the sales price of the comparable property, to bring it as close to in line with the subject property as possible.  For instance, if one of the comps have 2 ½ baths and the subject property only has two, you will need to reduce the sales price (on paper of course) of the comparable by the amount of value that the additional half bath would have brought.  This is done to each comparable to bring it as close in line with the subject property as possible.  An “adjustment” could be made for a property being larger or smaller, older or newer, corner lot, etc. 

Market Statistics for Sold Homes

Once you know the value of your home, the next step is to look at the homes that have sold, in your area and price range and get a few critical real estate statistics.  One metric you will want to look at is the Days on Market or DOM.  Days on Market show the average time it takes for properties to be put under contract.  Once you have that number, you next look at the percentage off the sales price that those homes sold at.  Lastly, you will want to look at the homes that expired and did not sell.  With these three metrics, a good REALTOR can tell you, with a relatively high degree of accuracy, if you price a property at a particular price, how long it will take to sell.

Pricing The Home

Once you have the numbers laying out different prices and how long it should take to sell at each price, you can then make some decisions.  Keep in mind, most homes that get sold at or above their listing price, go under contract very quickly.  Some would assume that means the home was under-priced, but truth is, that homes for sale get substantially more activity in the first 30 days of being listed for sale.  If aggressively priced during that time, they should sell quickly.  The best bet is to price the home as aggressively as possible, taking the above metrics into account, at the time the home hits the market for sale. 

Don’t Let This Happen To You

Because an aggressively priced home gets a lot of activity upon first hitting the open market, its not uncommon to get offers from potential home buyers almost immediately.  This is both a good and bad thing.  Many sellers may thing that if they have gotten offers in the first week or two, they will continue to get offers at that rate.  That sometimes can have a seller not work the negotiations quite as hard on those initial offers and even potentially lead the seller to believe they have UNDERPRICED the home.  Truth is, you may be looking at the best offers you will receive on your home.  Do not automatically think that the level of showing activity will stay at the rate it is upon first listing the home for sale.  This is where the help of a good real estate agent comes into play.  They are not emotionally attached to the home and are well aware of all of these facts.  A good agent will keep in mind the numbers initially discussed and keep focused on getting your target dollar amount. 

In Conclusion

Getting top dollar for your home takes a methodical approach.  Listen to your real estate agent, as they want to sell your home just as bad as you do and they are not emotionally attached to the home. Following the above process is not a guarantee that you particular home will sell fast, but is a proven approach for getting top dollar for your home in almost any market.

 

5 Famous New Orleans Chefs and Their Homes

NOLA chefs homes

5 Famous New Orleans Chefs and their Homes

 

The Home of Emeril Lagassi

Known for his personality as much as his cooking, Chef Emeril Lagassi is likely the most well known male Chef in the United States.  Emeril gained early fame after replacing Chef Paul Prudhomme as the Executive Chef at Commander’s Palace, a world famous New Orleans restaurant, in 1985 for a period of seven years.  When asked about the origin of his popular catch-phrase, “BAM!”, he credits it to his early days with the cooking show “Essence of Emeril”, which he took on after leaving Commander’s.  Due to Emeril’s demanding shooting schedule, if he thought audience members were getting bored or tired, he would throw out a loud “Bam!” to wake them up.  The phrase caught on and made him famous.  Unfortunately his former New Orleans home didn’t have the same outgoing personality.  Set in the South Lake Pontchartrain neighborhood of Lake Terrace, Emeril’s 50 year old, four bedroom, seven bathroom, 6700 square foot Provincial Style mansion sat on the market unsold for roughly a year and a half before finally selling at the bargain price of $1.4 million, down from an original list price of $1.6 million.  With roughly 1500 square feet of the home reserved as “kitchen space”, featuring all top-of-the-line appliances and amenities, it’s been called a “Chef’s Paradise”, but has been criticized for low ceilings, boring and bland curb appeal, and possibly being located in a flood zone A (although it has never flooded).  Emeril has since relocated to Destin, Florida as his permanent residence, but he regularly commutes to New Orleans to oversee four of his Crescent City restaurants, part of his total of 13 restaurants nationwide.  

The Homes of Paul Prudhomme

Another Chef who rose to fame after becoming the Head Chef at Commander’s Palace in 1975, Chef Paul Prudhomme was world-renowned for Cajun and Creole foods.  Chef Prudhomme passed away in October of 2015, but his legacy continues to this day through his brand of seasonings and spices, and series of eleven cookbooks.  His former home, located in the Marginy neighborhood of NOLA sits not far from the Northern bank of the Mississippi River and just around the corner from the world famous New Orleans French Quarter.  His personal residence at 527 Mandeville Street was a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 2,688 single story Victorian home.  Upon his passing, Chef Prudhomme had amassed a “compound” of six properties, including 4 single family residences, one home that has been used as his personal experimental kitchen, and one commercial property… all together totaling 10,288 square feet, and for sale at the bargain price of just under $3.4 million.  According to one of Chef Prudhomme’s famous quotes, “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food”, but you might have needed quite a few of them  to buy his properties.   

The Home of Jamie Shannon

Yet another famous New Orleans Celebrity Chef is the late Jamie Shannon, the Executive Chef at Commander’s Palace who, for 11 years, replaced Emeril Lagasse.  Originally from the small town of Ferndale in Northern Washington, Jamie Shannon made New Orleans, and Commander’s Palace his home twice.  Once as a Sous Chef, then, after a brief departure to Las Vegas, back again to take the helm a second and final time as the Executive Chef.  While the address of Jamie’s home is not readily available, Jamie did live in the Garden District of New Orleans in a Victorian Style pool and garden home during his final years.  His wife was an avid gardener, and he prided himself on using foods and ingredients in the restaurant that were local as much as possible, but not further away than 100 miles from New Orleans.  Jamie Shannon passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 40 following a year’s battle with cancer.  

The Home of Leah Chase

Known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine”, Leah Chase is more than a chef.  She is and has been a pioneer of racial equality all the way back through New Orleans’ 1950’s and ‘60’s Civil Rights Movements by welcoming, greeting, and feeding just about everyone who came through her doors.  Married into the restaurant business, Leah and her husband, musician, Edgar “Dookie” Chase took over his parents’ home-based po-boy shack, turning it into “Dookie Chase”, a restaurant that has served just about every famous black American who’s ever been to New Orleans, including President Barack Obama, twice.  Dookie Chase and Leah’s house are located in the Treme’, not just one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods, but also considered the oldest African American neighborhood in the nation.  Having spent her entire life right in the middle of it, Leah has received just about every culinary and civil rights award there is, and she’s also been invited to dine at the White House, twice.  Dookie Chase has been known through history, and particularly during tense racial times, as a neutral ground, where blacks and whites could eat together without concern for race… all led by the hospitality, and food, of one Leah Chase.  Despite the income she earns from her highly successful and beloved restaurant, Leah lives in a meager “Shotgun House” next door to Dookies.  A Shotgun house is a specific style of house that is distinctly and widely recognized as exclusively New Orleans.  Shotgun houses are long, narrow rectangular two or three bedroom homes that, traditionally, have one room leading directly into the next, without a hallway, from the front all the way to the back.  Some Shotgun homes have doors separating the rooms, while others have none at all.  It is believed the Shotgun style of home was brought to New Orleans by Haitian immigrants in the late 1700’s, seeking refuge from a resurgence of slavery in what is now modern day Haiti.  The Haitian variety of Shotgun house was not just popular with migrating Haitians, but with Creoles as well.  The Shotgun house works well in warm climates, where you only need open the front and back door to air out the entire house, but its design also creates a demand for interaction with each other, helping develop a strong sense of community in many poor neighborhoods where Shotgun houses were the primary style of home.  Traditionally, a Shotgun home is not more than 12 feet wide, with three to five separate rooms from the front to the back of the house.  Existing white and European cultures who had an established sense of personal privacy eventually modified the Shotgun house to have a hallway running straight down the middle, or all the way down one side.  Either way, due to its inexpensive nature, Shotgun homes became one of the most popular varieties of home to build, not only in New Orleans, but through the entire South from about the 1860’s to the 1920’s.  Older Shotgun homes can be as small as 300 square feet, but later and new construction models average up to about 1000 square feet.  But back in the kitchen, cooking at 92, Leah can be found at Dookie Chase Tuesday through Friday, four days a week; closed Saturday through Monday.  If you’re in New Orleans and aren’t far from the Mid-City or French Quarter areas, I suggest you make some time and stop in for a little taste of history.  

Homes of Justin Wilson

 

My personal favorite New Orleans Chef, Justin Wilson, most famously known for his catch-phrase, “I ga-ron-tee!”, funny stories, and Cajun cuisine, passed away in September 2001 at the ripe old age of 87.  Famous still today, an early TV cooking show personality, Justin Wilson was known just as much for his humor as he was for his cooking.  As a kid, I learned much of my own Cajun food cooking from his popular Louisiana PBS cooking show, “Louisiana Cookin’”, and I always enjoyed the funny stories he would tell during the breaks.  Many of these clips are still available on YouTube today and are always great to watch, although the accent and dialect can be a challenge for some.  Credited by many as a legitimate Chef, Justin admitted that he was a “professional storyteller first, then maybe a good cook, but never a chef”… he would say “Paul Prudhomme is a Chef.”  Not actually a New Orleans native, Justin Wilson, was born in Roseland, LA, just East of Baton Rouge, and was only technically “half-Cajun”.  Despite his residential and ancestral origins, Chef Wilson was beloved and accepted as a great Cajun Chef throughout all of New Orleans, as well as the state of Louisiana and many cities across the country, including far away cities like Chicago.  Most notoriously, however, Justin, for the last 9 years of his life, lived in one of the most interesting, and scandalous properties of all.  Lost deep in the woods East of Mandeville, the Rankin House sat in partial ruins, incomplete, known to have been built with embezzled funds from jailed William G. Rankin, a member of Governor Huey P. Long’s late 1930’s widely corrupt administration.  The original 11,000 square foot Modern Style mansion, known for clean, straight lines, lack of ornamentation, and streamlined appearance, sat incomplete and in partial ruin, hidden in the Mandeville woods for more than 30 years.  When Justin bought it, he planned to use it as a home, as well as a film set for one of his cooking shows.  The house was in such bad condition, Justin’s Wife, Jeannine Meeds, referred to it as a “shell with trees inside” as some of the rooms still had dirt floors and gaping holes where the windows were supposed to be.

 Children were rumored to have played in the forgotten home for decades, as well as the occasional criminal looking for a temporary hideout.  In ’89, the Wilson’s moved into the Caretaker’s Cottage while the main home was renovated for occupancy.  In ’92, Justin and his wife Jeannine officially moved into the 24 foot tall, 18,000 square foot home, which contained 12 rooms, six of which were bedrooms, two kitchens, a Grand Salon (where Justin’s show, “Louisiana Cooking: At Home”, was filmed for two series’), a spacious second-story living quarters with huge master suite, an even larger office, an elevator, and a basement.  Rankin House was Justin Wilson’s last residence when he passed in 2001.   More recently, the home was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, along with much of the surrounding mature timber; but to save the house a second time, Justin’s widow, Jeannine Meeds, bought a local sawmill and used masses of downed timber in the area to rebuild.  The home now listed on the Louisiana Homes Register of Historic Places. When asked about the place, he said he loved it more than any other home he’d ever lived in… this, he ga-ron-teed.  

Justin Wilson Shows How to Make Dirty Rice

 

Home Selling Tips – One Tip To Sell Your Home 18% Faster!

 

Home Selling Tips – One Tip To Sell Your Home 18% Faster!

You may be familiar with the pricing strategy in the retail environment where something is priced at $2.99 as opposed to $3.00.  It is a tried and true marketing tactic that has boosted sales in stores for decades.  However, if you attempt to use this sales tactic in selling your home, you may find that you get very different results.

In the retail world, pricing an item at $2.99 — rather than $3— will boost its sales. However, if you’re a seller using the same tactic when pricing your home, you may want to reconsider. When it comes to real estate, pricing at certain price points holds a clear advantage. Let’s dig into a recent study to see how and why.

Real Estate Is Different

Although “pricing on the 9’s” is commonplace in retail marketing, it can have the opposite effect when trying to sell your home.  Although you will still see that the majority of real estate listings are still priced at $299,999.  The difference is in how people search for real estate.

Pricing With Round Numbers

It has been proven that pricing your home with even numbers results in faster home sales.  Let’s say that you speak with your real estate agent and after reviewing the most recent home sales, come to the conclusion that your home should sell for $300,000.  Many agents will say “lets price this home at $299,000”, but that is statistically not the best route.  First of all, this is not a retail impulse buy where you are trying to make something appear to cost less.  When a buyer is purchasing a home, they have most likely already gotten pre-approved for a home purchase.  In that process, they have worked backwards from their personal financial situation, to what they can afford in a monthly note, to what that applies to in the price of a home.  This takes away the total price of the home and has a home buyer looking at a monthly note.  Although this may make a small difference in the ability to get your home sold for what you want, the big difference comes in how people search for homes on the internet.

Searching Homes on the Internet

According to the National Association of REALTORS, 97 percent of home buyers use the internet when looking for their next home.  That is a huge number!  That being said, it’s important to understand how real estate searches work.  When a potential home buyer searches for homes on the internet, they are utilizing the search functions of the major websites and local real estate agents.  You may have noticed, that when choosing a search criteria, you generally choose from $25,000 intervals.  That means to find your home on real estate websites, they would first put in a search criteria (including price) that would need to include your home’s price.

Pricing on the 9’s

If you price your $300,000 home at $299,999, your home will show up at the END of a property search where the max is $300,000.  That means the home buyer would put in a search criteria, let’s say from $275,000 to $300,000, they will go through potentially hundreds of real estate listings before seeing your home.   When a potential buyer is searching for homes, they are generally the most interested in the properties that are on the low end of their price range.  In the above instance, they would be looking at the homes priced at $275,000 and your home is at the very end of that search.  But what happens if a potential home buyer’s price range is from $300,000 to $325,000????  Where does your home show up in that list?  Yep…you guessed it…IT DOESN’T!

If you would price the home at $300,000 as opposed to $299,000, your home would show up in BOTH real estate searches…at the end of the $275,000 to $300,000 and at the VERY BEGINNING of the $300,000 to $325,000 search.  Not only will your home be seen by more potential buyers, it shows up first!

Statistics to Back It Up

homes selling fasterOne of the largest real estate brokers in the country did some research to verify this trick.

In reviewing the data from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), Edina Realty looked at sales data for single family homes sold between 2005 and 2015.  The results backed up what many of the best real estate agents already knew.  Homes priced at even numbers sold on average 18 percent faster than homes listed “on the 9’s”.  They also found that when a home was priced at an even number, it showed up in 58 percent more searches than when priced on the 9’s.

Home Selling Tips

There are many tips to getting your home sold fast and for the highest fair market price.  Pricing your home on even numbers is an easy to use tip that has real results.

Ready To Sell?

If you are looking to sell your home and want to use every advantage possible, Contact Kathy Marshall today.

If you are in the beginning stages and just want to get your homes current value, use our Fast and Accurate Home Valuation tool.  It is statistically much more accurate than Zillow!

Click Here To Get Your Home’s Value!

 

Preparing for a Home Inspection

home inspection

One of the most underappreciated, but extremely important steps in a real estate transaction is the inspection period.  Many real estate deals fall apart during this time.  Second only to the seller having challenges with their mortgage, the home inspection is the most common reason that real estate deals fall apart.  We recommend correcting most issues while the home is listed for sale so when you get to the inspection period…all goes smooth.

 

Preparing For a Home Inspection

 

Many home buyers get scared with even the smallest list of deficiencies in a home inspection report.  During the inspection period (which is laid out in the purchase agreement) the buyer can usually walk away from the sale with no recourse.  For this reason, its imperative that you (the home seller) prepare for the home inspection.

Since it is the job of the professional home inspector to list deficiencies of the home for sale, our goal here is to minimize that list by tackling some of the most common issues ahead of time.

 

Check Lighting

 

During the home inspection, all of the light fixtures in your home will be checked.  The issue can be something as simple as replacing a light bulb or a cracked fixture casing.  Since these simple things make the list longer, it is recommended that you make sure all lighting fixtures work flawlessly.

 

Change Your Air Conditioner

 

In the heat of NOLA, one of the biggest things inspectors look at is the air conditioning.  Prior to the home inspector looking, you will want to replace the air filter.  A dirty air filter can lead people to believe that the A/C may not have been properly maintained.  Most home inspectors will check the difference in temperature from where the air enters your A/C to the first vent in which it comes out.  As a general rule, the difference in temperature should be between 12 and 18 degrees.  If you can check this prior, by purchasing an inexpensive laser thermometer, it can save a tremendous amount of headaches.  If you find that your temperature difference is outside of normal parameters you may want to call out a professional to service the unit.   It is all but guaranteed if your A/C is not performing properly, it will be an issue, so get in front of it.  Keep the receipt to show the buyer (only if requested) if they have any questions about the air conditioners performance.

 

Check Your Homes Exterior

 

When you live in a home for a while, it’s easy to get used to seeing some deficiencies, ultimately becoming blind to them.  You will want to walk around your home, looking very closely at all aspects of the home’s exterior from top to bottom.  You may notice a crack in vinyl siding that can be easily replaced. Look for clogged gutters as well as the condition of the downspouts.  Look for any grading issues that may cause water to pool in the yard. You will also want to make sure that no plants or shrubs come into any contact with the home itself.   Inspect the fascia and soffits for anything that can be easily remedied.  Other things to check would be:

  • Garage Door
  • Condition of the Driveway or Carport
  • Doorbell

 

Check The Home’s Mechanics

 

Some of the aspects of this list will be beyond making a quick repair, but since you know they will be inspected, its best to check them out prior to correct any small issues that you may notice.  Some aspects of your homes mechanics include:

  • Roof
  • Furnace
  • Water Heater
  • Electrical Paneling and Wiring

Needless to say, if you see something beyond your competence level on any of these, you should call a professional. 

 

Check Your Windows

The condition of your home’s windows can be very important to your buyer.  At a minimum, if not well maintained can lengthen the list of deficiencies on your home.  You will want to make sure that all of the windows open and close properly.  Inspect them from both the inside of the home and the outside.  Make sure that all windows have screens.  If you are missing some screens or they are torn or ripped, you will want to replace those prior to a home inspection.  In some instances (such as a VA loan) having proper window screens are required.  With some window screens needing to be ordered, its best if done early so they are installed by the time the inspection takes place.

 

Check Your Plumbing

Water leaks in a home can be a minor irritation or a disaster.  When written on a property inspection, it can be hard to tell the difference.  Make sure to check all pluming, including faucets, under all sinks, water pressure and make sure that all toilets flush properly and that the toilet is secure and doesn’t rock.

 

Check Your Detectors

Although smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are relatively inexpensive, you will want to make sure that they are in full working order.  When your detectors are non-functional or even lacking a battery, it can be a sign of deferred maintenance.  It will make the list of deficiencies more extensive and something that you will ultimately have to correct anyway.  So may as well have those working up front.

Check Your Appliances

If there are issues with your everyday, built in appliances, you are usually well aware of that.  That being said, most home-buyers anticipate when they view a home, for any build in appliances such as a dishwasher or ice maker to work properly.  Once again, these are things that you would end up having to fix or replace, so it is highly recommended that any deficiencies to your home’s appliances be fixed or the appliance replaced prior to the purchaser seeing via an inspection report that they don’t work. 

 

In Conclusion

A home inspection is where the buyer is reassured that the home they are buying is what they expect it to be.  Even in the most perfect of homes, you will see a list of property deficiencies on an inspection report.  To insure you real estate sale goes as smooth as possible, we recommend checking everything and making sure as little as possible makes it on the list.

 

 

 

5 Things to Be Aware Of When Selling a Home By Owner

for sale by owner

5 Things To Be Aware Of When Selling a Home By Owner

It’s hard to put everything associated with selling a home in NOLA into priority, as to what thing is more important than the other… they are all very important.  Selling a home is complicated and requires extensive knowledge of NOLA real estate, real estate laws, negotiation techniques, and common local sales practices.  It also requires the skill and expertise to deal with unexpected bumps and turns as the sale progresses from start to finish (and if you don’t think unexpected bumps and turns will happen, well, you are either just unaware or possibly deluding yourself).  It’s important to know that, even after a home sale closes, mistakes can come back to haunt you; especially in Louisiana.  Any error made when selling a home can surface years after the deal closes.  Lawsuits are extremely common in real estate, and frequently, they aren’t the cheap kind.  Realtors are trained extensively in how to deal with problems, or even better, how to prevent them; they also have the supervision and assistance of their experienced Manager or Broker to help them when any of the usual or common turbulence arises in just about every home selling transaction.  Owners who intend to self-represent their own sale (For Sale By Owner, or FSBO for short) take risks that they are largely unaware of and frequently expose themselves to problems, including lawsuits, that could easily be avoided if an experienced professional were helping and/or advising them.  

Owners who sell FSBO generally do it for one reason and one reason alone: to save on real estate commissions. So for anyone BRAVE enough to sell “By Owner”, here are 5 important things you really need to know.

Escrow

Escrow is a third-party, usually a title company, whose purpose is to make sure that all terms of your sale are honored, that both parties keep their end of the deal, and not to give legal or real estate advice.  Escrow is not there to “walk you through” selling your home, it is the legal process for closing on your home.  They aren’t legally allowed to give Real Estate advice.  Escrow is there to make sure whatever agreement you make with your Buyer is satisfied to both parties expectations, and not to assist, instruct, or guide either party through the sale in any way.  Many FSBO Sellers mistakenly believe they can get advice and guidance from their Escrow company, but since Escrow companies aren’t licensed to sell homes or give real estate advice, anything you take from them, anything at all, is at your own risk.

Disclosures

Selling a home requires an abundance of disclosures.  Disclosures consist of written documentation of just about anything and everything you know (and some things you don’t) about your home: insurance claims, damage, additions (permitted or not), use or presence of certain specific substances or materials, internal, external, and environmental hazards and/or their proximity to the home, etc.  The list can be exhaustive and broadly comprehensive.  Failure to disclose ALL necessary information could result in a breakdown of the sale, or even worse, a lawsuit, even after the sale closes.  Realtors are trained in disclosures and can help make sure you don’t end up in a pot of hot water.   In Louisiana, we have a mandated property disclosure that must be used in all real estate transactions. Depending on the age of the home, you may be mandated to fill out lead based paint disclosures too.

Redhibition

Technically, redhibition is:

Redhibition is a civil action available under Louisiana law against the seller and/or manufacturer of a defective product, similar to the lemon laws more familiar to common law jurisdictions in other U.S. states.

In a real estate transaction, it means that if an issue is found with the home, even years after the act of sale, the seller can be held responsible.  Most qualified NOLA real estate agents will put a waiver of redhibition in place.

Misrepresentation Hazards

As mentioned in the paragraph above, failure to disclose certain information can result in some hugely unwanted problems.  The only way you could make things worse is to conceal, deny, or misrepresent important information that the buyer is legally entitled to receive.  Misrepresentation and failure to disclose important facts is the number one reason for real estate lawsuits.  If you ever end up on the receiving end of a real estate lawsuit, be prepared to dig deep.  Realtors have insurance to protect and cover them if such things occur, but FSBO Sellers don’t.  It only takes a few hours with a real estate attorney to eat up whatever money (or more), you may have saved by doing it “DIY”.  

Home Inspection

Many diligent home buyers will pay for their own professional home inspection.  Home inspections are done by professional, trained home inspectors who are likely to find more problems with your home than you’d ever expect.  If, during the inspection, any kind of cover-up or mis-representation is discovered, get ready to make things right quickly, or run the chance of the deal falling apart completely.  It’s fair to say that some home buyers may not have the home inspected, but you can’t count on that.  Expect that the home will be inspected, that problems will be found, and that you’ll have to find a way to settle these issues without causing the buyer to walk.   In addition, if you are selling your home in Lakeview, be prepared for the buyer to want a clean WDIR, which stands for Wood Destroying Insect Report.

Be Prepared for Unexpected Problems

 

It should go without saying that problems have the potential of surfacing (and they frequently do) at any time during your sale, from start to finish… or even after.  Selling a home is a lot like flying an airplane, in the sense that there are a LOT of things you need to know, a LOT of things to be prepared for, and plenty of opportunity for turbulence, delays, and even the occasional “crash and burn”.  Again, a good Realtor is trained in how to handle just about any problem that comes up, and if they aren’t, they have an abundance of resources to draw assistance from.  A Realtor, just like an Airline Pilot, is extensively trained (and usually experienced) to handle problems, and to, no matter what, get the plane landed safely and as close to on-time as possible.  It goes without saying that unexpected problems will arise… they always do… and how well you handle them can make the difference between a safe landing or crashing to the ground.    

Real Estate Commissions

In conclusion, its important to remember that when a home owner chooses to try to sell their home on their own, they are usually doing so to “save the real estate commission”. When a home buyer is looking at FSBO homes (almost always without the assistance of a REALTOR), they too are trying to “save the real estate commission”. The reason that over 90% of homes are sold with the assistance of an agent is because there is only ONE real estate commission, both parties are trying to “save it”. This means you have two sides, both not familiar with the process, both trying to save the same thing. This leads to many deals falling apart at best or a costly lawsuit at worst.

Download and Watch Movie 47 Meters Down (2017)

pricing your home

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Watch Full Movie Online 47 Meters Down (2017)
  • 47 Meters Down (2017)

  • Duration
    89 mins
    Genre
    Thriller, Horror.
  • In Cinemas
    June 15, 2017
    Language
    English.
  • Country
    United Kingdom.
  • Streaming Movie 47 Meters Down (2017) Online

Plot For 47 Meters Down

Movie ’47 Meters Down’ was released in June 15, 2017 in genre Thriller. Johannes Roberts was directed this movie and starring by Claire Holt. This movie tell story about Two sisters on Mexican vacation are trapped in a shark observation cage at the bottom of the ocean, with oxygen running low and great whites circling nearby, they have less than an hour of air left to figure out how to get to the surface.

DIRECTOR

Johannes Roberts.

Producer

James Harris, Mark Lane.

Writer

Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera.

Production Company

Dimension Films, Tea Shop & Film Company, The Fyzz Facility, Flexibon Films.

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Tips for Selling Your Home

mortgage lending and real estate

Beginning the process of selling your house can be extremely stressful. But with rising rent costs and cheaper mortgage rates, many people are looking to become homeowners, so if you want to sell your home, now is a good time to do it. In order to help your house sell as quickly as possible, here are 3 helpful tips to consider:

Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize, and Stage Your Home

Possibly one of the most important things you can do to your home before you sell it, is to give it a really great deep clean. When buyers are looking for homes for sale, they don’t want to walk into a house of filth (and if you follow a tip to come about photos, no buyer will because they will see how dirty it is in pictures). Start with the floors—deep clean the carpets, steam clean the tile and wood floors. Move your way up with cleaning the baseboards, doors, and windows. Clean all the light fixtures, door knobs, and light switches. Clean out your vents.

Give quite a bit of focus to the areas of the house buyers will look at most closely—the kitchen and the bathrooms. Buyers don’t want to see mold or grime, they don’t want scummy showers or nasty dishes in the sink.

If you have children or dogs, this might be particularly important. Make sure to deep clean everything, and before every showing be aware of smells. Light a candle (not one too strong) or bake some cookies if you need to!

selling your homeAnother important factor in selling your house is decluttering and depersonalizing. If you need to, rent a storage unit or borrow a kind family members’ garage for a while. You want to accentuate the space in your house. Clean out closets so they are not overflowing, take a bunch of stuff out of your pantry and your kitchen cabinets. If there isn’t quite as much inside, it will give the appearance of being bigger. Also take most or all of the things off of tables and counters.

You also want to hide personal objects, like family pictures, large art, or religious items. The idea of staging your home is to allow the potential buyer to visualize themselves living there—and that can be hard when you have a photo collage of every picture you’ve taken of your 6 year old on the wall. You want to make the home feel lived and to focus on the home’s features.

Staging Your Home

Consider staging your home as well. You probably don’t need a professional, as you can easily change some things around yourself. Have a friend come in and give you their honest opinion about what they like and don’t like. Rearrange your furniture to be more conversational and symmetrical, move some art pieces around, and have a fresh vase of flowers or a bowl of nice fruit on the table. Make sure to freshen things up, too, by replacing or deep cleaning drapes, towels, and rugs.

When staging, don’t forget the outside! Curb appeal is the first thing buyers notice about a house. Add new mulch, mow the grass, and get some fresh flowers planted. Pressure wash the house and driveway, or add a fresh coat of paint to the shutters. And don’t forget the backyard if you have one. Make the potential buyers visualize all of the things they could do in the yard.

Tip: Before you leave the house for a showing, turn on all the lights and open all the curtains, and make sure to open all the doors in closets.

Find the Right Agent

It seems fairly obvious, but one important factor in how quickly your house sells is whether or not you have the right real estate agent. Don’t be afraid to shop around and do your research. Check out online reviews, take a look at their track record, and make sure they advertise your home effectively on multiple listing sites.

It is usually best to find an agent who has worked a lot in your area or neighborhood. For instance, if you are looking for homes in Lakeview, Kathy Marshall has years of experience. They should be familiar with the comps, and should know who is looking in your area (demographics matter—it tells you what they may love or hate about your home). A good agent should also be able to objectively tell you what you need to fix, change, or upgrade in your home to help it sell.

 Good Photos

 Most people start looking for homes online, and two big factors in online house hunting are pictures and wording. If you don’t have multiple good pictures of your home, people are unlikely to schedule a viewing. Many real estate agents will hire professional photographers to take pictures of a home before it is listed.

Don’t forget that you can help market your home, too! Post it on Facebook or ask your friends and neighbors if they know anyone looking to buy. Word of mouth can spread quickly.

Mostly, once you settle on an experienced and good agent to help sell your home, listen to them! They usually know what the best price is to list your home, and they can recommend good times for you to have the house available for showings. And even after you have hired an agent, if they aren’t listening to your needs and aren’t marketing your house well, don’t be afraid to find a new one!

Make Some Small Upgrades

 Don’t go crazy and remodel the whole house. But also don’t be opposed to making some minor upgrades that might leave your house on the market for less time. Quick fixes can lead to quick sales. As usual, the kitchen and the bathrooms are where you should focus the upgrades, though you shouldn’t forget the rest of the house either.

New cabinet hardware and a fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into some old kitchen cabinets. Replace doors handles in the house, fix your faulty lights, and clean out the grout in your kitchen and bathrooms. If you have a little bit more to spend, get new stainless steel appliances for the kitchen—it might set you back a few thousand dollars, but it will sell your home quickly. And it’s definitely cheaper than remodeling the entire kitchen. There’s a big impact from a pretty small upgrade.

Don’t ignore the things that really need to be fixed and addressed. Buyers will probably notice them, and inspectors definitely will.

Putting a little time, effort, and money into your house before listing it can determine just how quickly your home sells. Take a quick look around your house and think like a buyer—would you want to buy your home in the current condition it is in?

The Streets of Lakeview New Orleans

streets of lakeview in new orleans

The Streets of Lakeview New Orleans

Even though Lakeview New Orleans is considered one of the most sought after places to live in the city, they are known for having some of the worst streets.  How can one of the most prominent neighborhoods in Greater New Orleans have streets in such a state of disrepair?

History of Lakeview Streets

The Lakeview neighborhood on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans has always been a vibrant part of the city of New Orleans.  Swampland was converted into waterfront property, with business and residential development coming up right behind.
It was the French explorers who first set up a trapper’s outpost at the mouth of Bayou St. John.  Then the Spanish reinforced it with a fort and turned this watery swampland into a vital part of rear protection for the city when it was manned by gunners from the pirate Jean Lafitte’s privateers.  Other than that it had no real value and the Spanish sold it off to a Mr. Alexander Milne.  He was the first to develop the area now known as Gentilly.

It wasn’t soon however, before massive development turned the area into a prime destination for Downtown dwellers to escape for day trips.  Various hotels, resorts, and other entertainment venues cropped up.  Soon there became a huge demand for residential areas and that’s when the streets began.
A massive engineering project got underway.  The water was drained, the old swamp cypress and other species were pulled up, the space was dug up and then filled in again with dirt proper for building on, and the rest is history…or so the builders thought.
Unfortunately, and especially for those engineers in charge of the project, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you build heavily on land once completely covered by swamp that you are going to have settlement; and it will be continuous.  Hence the battle for the streets of Lakeview began almost as soon as the last streets were laid.

Today Lakeview remains one of the few places in the city, if not in the country, that actually cheers in celebration when the heavy equipment is pulled out and the construction begins.  They begin to see hope for their car suspensions and being able to ride their bikes without disappearing into giant sinkholes never to be heard from again.

Residents of Lakeview Complain

Since street repair is generally taken out of the taxes that are gathered from property taxes, the homeowners in lakeview residents complainLakeview “took to the streets”.  Since the home values in lakefront are higher than the average, residents of Lakeview had a right to question why the city would not spend the money to fix their streets. A massive “Fix My Streets” campaign was the slogan of the neighborhood and once again the dwellers of Lakeview New Orleans stood up and showed what they were made of; if you want something done fight for it and don’t give up.  With many Lakeview Homes for Sale, you can see why homeowners would be upset that their streets were not being repaired.
Actually, a huge beginning of the campaign was entitled “Fix My Street! I Pay My Taxes”.  The only problem was that even though New Orleans has had its share of political corruption; the truth is that only a minuscule amount of property taxes was allocated to street repair.  To be more specific just 1.5% of property taxes were allocated in 2014 according to the tax assessor’s office.  Then to add insult to injury only 2% of the sales tax in the city was allocated to these types of projects.
Still, the resilience of the Lakeview community held sway.  The city began a massive restoration project after Hurricane Katrina.  Beginning around 2008 and finalized in the beginning of 2012 two major phases of street construction coming in just under $7,000,000 were completed.  Last year was the beginning, construction, and design of another $3,000,000 in street repairs; and 2016 is expected to bring in yet another $23,000,000 in repairs and restorations.

Progress on Lakeview Streets

The point is Lakeview is a thriving part of the City of New Orleans and perhaps finally the city understands that completely; and the city is showing that by putting the resources into it that it should have been all along.  Personally, I believe it has everything to do with the citizens in that neighborhood.  They have shown to the city, and perhaps the rest of the state, that we will thrive through adversity.  Lakeview residents have stood up tall and shouted we are rebuilding and nothing will stop us.  It is an extremely refreshing change of pace for the City of New Orleans to be seen supporting its hardworking citizens by saying…We are here for ya’ and we are here to help…WHO DAT!

View Most Recent Lakeview Homes For Sale

 

The Fix Our Streets Task Force Makes Headway

nola streets

 

We are seeing some good news in that the Fix My Streets task force is looking at options for repairing up to 1,500 miles of streets in NOLA.  With streets all over the city needing repair, we are hoping that —-the streets of Lakeview— will be on the list of roads that they recommend for repair.

Recent City Reports

The plans are coming out spurred by two reports, recently released by the city of New Orleans, on NOLA street conditions.  One of the reports, released on August 28th,  is a detailed look at each and every street in New Orleans and their current condition. That report showed the city will need to spend between $200 million and $350 million each year on capital improvements like road reconstruction and an additional $30 to $35 million annually on street maintenance.

The second pertinent report is a look at the financial options that the city has in raising money to fix NOLA streets.  This report is due sometime in September.

Task Force Meets

The Fix Our Streets task force recently met to discuss how they would use the new city reports to make recommendations to the city. Mich Landrieu had requested that the task force put their recommendations together in an official report.

 “We have yet to sit around and look at one sheet of paper that says this is where the money is coming from and this is where the money is going,” task force member Freddy Yoder, a construction industry executive. “We need to get the word out and put it in simple terms that people can understand.”

The city told the task force has recently hired the PFM Group to start their analysis of the different funding sources that the city could utilize to pay for the street repairs.  The repairing of NOLA streets are expected to cost $5 billion over the next 20 years.

Sources of Street Repair Funds

It has been suggested that property taxes may need to be increased in an effort to raise money to fix the streets in many of the NOLA neighborhoods.  In addition, the city has negotiated with FEMA, a $2 billion dollar settlement for post Katrina infrastructure, but those funds would not be enough to cover the cities current needs.

Other options for raising funds included selling bonds and transportation utility fees as well as tapping the state capital outlay process.  Another option, less likely to make it to the final draft is removing some property tax exemptions for non-profits, but that would require legislative action and voter support.

As of now, it is not clear how the city of New Orleans will raise the additional funds (to the FEMA settlement) for the street repairs, but with the talks ongoing, we hope to see a plan for street repairs soon.

 

Mortgage Rates May Increase in 2017

Lakeview NOLA Homes for sale

Mortgage rates were up this week, averaging 3.52 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, up from 3.47 percent last week. This is the first time in four months the rate has been above 3.50 percent. Last year at this time, rates were 3.70 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

 

mortgage ratesA consensus is growing on what may happen in the near future with interest rates.

What’s Expected in the Next Two Months?

People of all political stripes agree that the madness of this election season is worth waiting out.  Janet Yellen and crew (a group also known as the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC) meet mere days before the election, on November 2, to discuss whether they’ll raise the Federal funds rate.

Heavy odds are they won’t. As of publication, there’s a 92.8 percent chance they’ll stay the same.

Instead, talk is on a recent run of okay-but-not-spectacular reports, that aren’t where economists hoped they’d be, but that might be good enough for the Federal Reserve to raise rates in December. For example, the most recent jobs report was described as “stubbornly average” by Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson, while economist Diane Swonk described it as “solid, not spectacular.”

Continuing this theme, Tuesday’s consumer price index was “in line with expectations,” according to CNBC, and revealed that year-over-year inflation was 1.5 percent, the highest it’s been since October 2014. That’s inching closer to the two percent the FOMC deems ideal, and a number that Bloomberg notes is consistent with a raise in rates in the coming holiday season.

What About Housing?

In many areas across the country, it’s a seller’s market. There simply aren’t many homes for sale, and it looks like we’re not going to get the relief we need in the near future.

Tuesday’s Housing Market Index, which measures home builder confidence in the market, continued the trend of lukewarm reports. Builder confidence was at its second-highest level this year – but down compared to the previous report.

Similarly, the Census Bureau’s release yesterday showed a decline on new construction starts last month, though with a rise in builders requesting permits to build in the future. This chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, shows that builders are still not building at historical norms, though they are building much more than in the in the recent past. Again, a mixed bag.

What Does It Mean For Homebuyers?

new mortgage ratesBaring a surprise next week at the FOMC meeting, mortgage rates are unlikely to rise significantly in the short term. However, mortgage rates may start to creep up in 2017, especially if the Fed rate is raised on December 14, with experts saying there is a 73.6 percent chance of that happening.

 

 

But, even with a hike, mortgage rates would likely stay very low by historical standards, as the chart indicates.

Perhaps the bigger question for homebuyers is not whether they can afford a mortgage in 2017, but whether the new year will have enough homes to satisfy demand.

Lakeview Forecast To Be One of Americas Hotest Housing Markets

Lakeview NOLA Real Estate

Lakeview is forecast to be one of America’s hottest housing markets

We are all aware that Lakeview has seen a tremendous real estate recovery since Hurricane Katrina.  Now, REALTOR.com is anticipating that the Greater New Orleans area, with Lakeview specifically, will be one of the hottest real estate markets in the country by the end of 2016.

 

According to REALTOR.com the top 10 metro markets for 2016 are experiencing up to 60% more activity on the listings in their respective markets when compared with the national average.  They claim the top emerging real estate markets in the US to be:

 

Providence, R.I

St. Louis, MO

San Diego, CA

Sacramento, CA

Atlanta, Ga.

New Orleans – Metairie, LA.

Memphis, TN

Charlotte, NC

Virginia Beach, VA

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA

 

 

Realtor.com claims the top ten New Orleans ZIP codes that should see the most activity are: 70115 and 70118 in Uptown and Carrollton, 70124 in Lakeview; 70119 in Mid City New Orleans; 70113 in the CBD; 70125 in Broadmoor; and 70005, 70002, 70113 and 70121 in Metairie around the Lakefront.

 

Lakeview Real Estate

 

Kathy Marshall with Engel & Volkers provided some an in depth look at the Lakeview real estate market.  When looking specifically at the 70124 ZIP code which focuses on Lakeview Homes, we have seen some very impressive numbers.  The median sales price of single family homes for sale in 70124 for May of 2014 was $395,505 and as of May of 2016 that number has shot up to $505,000.  That is an increase of over 27% in twelve months.

 

Lakeview Price Trends

 

 

70124_price_trendsWe are seeing an increase in the number of homes for sale in Lakeview.  As a general rule, when the market heats up, you see less inventory, but that is just not the case here in Lakeview.  In May of 2015, we had 119 active properties for sale in 70124, but for May of 2016 that number has went up to 156.  With a median Days on Market of only 36, the homes in Lakeview are selling fast.  To put that statistic in perspective, the median days on market nationwide is 81.

New Orleans Real Estate

 

One of REALTOR.com’s economist, Johnathan Smoke said said the strengthening market in New Orleans is being driven by job and population growth: the number of households has increased 25 percent faster than the national average as more people move in, and the labor force is growing at twice the national rate. According to REATOR.com currently, New Orleans is the 44th largest real estate market in the country,

 

Flooding in Lakeview – Does it Affect Home Sales?

flooding in lakeview

Flooding in Lakeview – Does it Affect Home Sales?

 

Anytime a flood event takes place, it has effects on the real estate market in the affected area. With the massive street flooding that recently occurred, it’s understandable that anyone selling or buying a home in Lakeview may be looking for some direction.  We wish this were an April Fool’s Joke…but unfortunately it’s not.

Is This an April Fools Joke?

Every year on the first of April, many people spend their day either playing pranks or being at the butt end of one.  “The streets are flooding in Lakeview”, I wish I could say it’s a prank; however, that is just not the case.  With the amount of rain in such a short period of time, it ends up being that same old story, major street flooding just about everywhere.

Lakeview was one of the hardest hit areas with the major rains and street flooding.  You saw cars parked on neutral grounds just to try to keep them dry.  Since Lakeview saw an enormous amount of rainfall in such a short period of time, it was to no surprise that under the railroad track bridge, Canal Blvd. became a small lake.  And, it was inevitably no surprise to see that someone had the bad idea of thinking they could drive through that small lake only to end up getting stranded and having to be rescued.  They, I am certain, wish that their situation was just that —  AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!!

Another hard hit place was City Park in Lakeview.   It was supposed to be the opening day for the Hogs For a Cause event.  Because of the rain and flooding that did not happen, as all the grounds were under water.   The terrific news is that tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day for everyone to go out to City Park and support and enjoy the Hogs For Cause.  Just be sure to bring your galoshes with you, as it is certain to be very sloppy walking around. 

How Flooding Affects Home Sales

When an area floods, it can complicate the home buying/selling process.  Whether you have your home in Lakeview listed for sale, you are a potential home buyer or you are currently under contract (from either the buyer or seller side) it can bring new obstacles that you will need to overcome.

For the Lakeview Home Seller

If you are selling your home in Lakeview, one of the things you will want to do is update your property disclosure.  A property disclosure tells all potential buyers what defects in the home exist.  If and when a home has taken on water from flooding is a question on the disclosure.  If your home has not taken any water on, it may be worth noting on the disclosure that during this flood event, your home stayed high and dry.  In many instances, if you have already noted the dates of water intrusion and they have not changed (no April 2016 flooding) you can simply initial and date by your existing information on your property disclosure. Take any of the worries away from potential home buyers that your home in Lakeview took water.

For the Home Buyer

If you are looking for homes for sale in Lakeview, you will want to be sure to see that updated property disclosure pointing out if any flooding took place.  If you are currently under contract to purchase a home in Lakeview and you have not performed your inspections, you will want to pay special attention to signs of flooding.  If you have already completed your inspections, you may want to request to perform another, ONLY for the sake of checking for flooding. 

If You Are Under Contract

When a home gets put under contract in the state of Louisiana, the buyer has the right to purchase the home in the same physical state as it was when they wrote the contract.  Many real estate practitioners advise their buyers to do a “final inspection” either the “day of” or the “day before” the closing.  This is simply to take one last look at the property to make sure that the home is in the same condition.  This means that any damage that has occurred during the period that the home is under contract must be disclosed and handled in a mutually acceptable way.

What if the Home in Lakeview Has Flooded?

Although the streets became rivers, it doesn’t look like too many (if any) homes in Lakeview saw flooding.  We do know that the Metry Cafe on Metairie Rd did see some water intrusion.  More good news for homes in Lakeview is that most homeowners have flood insurance.  If you are under contract (from the buying or the selling side) of a home that has taken on water, you will need to speak with your real estate agent as there are many ways to remedy the situation.  In most instances, it doesn’t need to be the end of the transaction.  REALTORS that specialize in Lakeview are very knowledgeable on a variety of ways to insure both buyers and sellers are handled fairly in situations like this.  Lean on your agent, that is what they are there for.  If you are selling your home in Lakeview “For Sale By Owner”…it may be a good time to obtain the services of a good REALTOR.

The Future of Lakeview

Considering the amount of water and street flooding seen in Lakeview over that last couple of days, you would think it would have a lasting effect on property values in Lakeview.  The truth is, very few homes saw any form of water intrusion (if any). If any of the homes did, they were most likely covered by Flood Insurance.  Needless to say, this is not the worst water issue that Lakeview has ever seen (dare I say the K word). 

This is just a bump in the road and Lakeview will continue to be most of the sought after neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Everyone please continue to be safe if you are out driving on the streets while a second wave of heavy rains is making their way through Lakeview, Uptown and Metairie.  You may encounter more street flooding, very slick streets, and vision will not be great.