It's no secret that we love our pets! We've all seen dog and cat ownership spiral till almost everyone has one, not to mention small creatures like birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles. Whatever the pet, you'll need accommodations for it in that home you're looking at among Lafayette homes for sale.
What will you do to make things just right for Fifi or Fido in your home? After all, you want to ensure your pets have the best life possible. But you also will need to ensure your home stays bright, shiny, and clean smelling so that human visitors (and occupants) are comfortable.
To that end, here's some good advice from our Realtors® on how to make your home more pet friendly.
Whether you prefer nature-inspired activities, love to play a round of golf, or prefer to visit museums and other cultural interests, Lake Charles is a terrific spot to call home. While Lake Charles boasts a small-town atmosphere, it has many of the perks and amenities of larger cities. Here are a few reasons our Realtors® encourage you to make Lake Charles your home in 2023.
Lake Charles attracts new residents from all across the country. Ready to find your new home in the Lake Charles area in 2023? Contact us to get started!
The start of a new year is a great time to set goals and start new habits. Many people would like to be more active or save more money. For others, the goal of homeownership is their New Year's resolution. Our Realtors® suggest taking the following steps as you plan on buying a home in 2023:
Are you looking for ways to spruce up your home? Whether you have thousands to spend or you're on a tight budget, our Realtors® can recommend a variety of DIY home improvement projects that will make a lasting impression.
Take a look at ten budget-friendly home improvement projects that you can easily tackle before 2022 is over.
Paint the Front Door
Louisiana weather can cause your front door to look dingy and faded over time, but you can fix that with a fresh coat of paint. Choose a bright color that makes a good first impression, and buy a semi-gloss paint that's durable and easy to clean.
Install Home Security
For extra security, install a smart lock on your front door and a security camera near your home's entrance, so you can see who's at the front door. Some smart locks include cameras that can be viewed by your smartphone whether you're home or not.
Upgrade Exterior Light Fixtures
You can give your home's exterior a low-cost facelift just by upgrading outside light fixtures. Consider a new porch light, walkway lights, and accent lights for your landscaping. Solar lights will cost less because they don't require wiring, but they may not be as bright.
Pressure Wash Your Driveway
If you don't own a pressure washer, go get one. They cost less than $50 and can be used to clean driveways, walkways, porches, decks, and even siding and windows. With little effort, you can wash away dirt and grime and make your home sparkling clean.
Lay Low-Cost Flooring
Many older homes have outdated 12x12-inch vinyl tiles in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms. By replacing old vinyl tiles with laminated wood planks, ceramic or porcelain tiles, or stone pavers, you can bring an older home into the 21st century with style.
Add a Runner to Stairs
If you have a two-story home with a staircase made of wood steps, adding a runner will increase fall safety and interior style. To keep the budget down, look for off-the-shelf woven runners and supplies from a local home improvement center.
Install a New Dishwasher
An old dishwasher can wreak havoc on your electric and water bills. By installing a Star-rated energy-efficient dishwasher, you can save about $50 a year on power and 500 gallons of water. If you're washing your dishes in the sink, you're using 40% more water with every wash.
Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
Dark wood cabinets can make your kitchen feel smaller and outdated. Instead of spending thousands on new cabinets, give your cabinets a fresh new appeal with paint. All you need is a cleaner, sandpaper, a paintbrush, and a little elbow grease to let in the light.
Upgrade Your Hardware
Installing new fixtures and hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms is a quick way to increase design appeal. Replace your old sink and shower fixtures and cabinet pulls with shiny new chrome, brass, or bronze ones that update style and convenience.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If your home still has an old-fashioned dial thermostat, it's time for an upgrade. Programmable thermostats are inexpensive and easy to install with a drill and a screwdriver. You can program your thermostat to adjust the heat and cool settings based on your daily activities and sleep schedules.
Whether you work from your home office every day or just on occasion, keeping plants in your office can have important benefits. Not only are plants favored by interior designers for improving the decor, but they also have been shown to have some major psychological benefits that can help you while you work, such as reducing stress and depression and improving memory and focus.
If you don't have a particularly green thumb, however, you might find the thought of caring for plants to be a little intimidating. Not to worry! Our Realtors® have compiled a list of easy-care plants that will be perfect additions to your home office.
In addition to being good for maximizing productivity and minimizing stress, plants are heavily favored by decorators, so don't be surprised if you're asked to include a few when staging your home for sale. Easy care is important for plants in Alexandria homes for sale, too, so you may find the above list helpful. To get started staging and listing your home for sale, contact us today.
If you're looking to update your kitchen but think it would be costly and time-consuming, it may be easier than you think. There are several budget-friendly ways to update your kitchen that will not take long to achieve. They'll help quickly transform the room, so it's more attractive and pleasant to work in.
Our Realtors® suggest the following kitchen updates that won't break the bank:
Contact us if you're ready to find a new home and would like to see Lafayette homes for sale and visit Lafayette open houses. Our firm is the top real estate company in the Gulf South, and we have over a century of proven results. We'd be happy to help you find your new home in the area!
The DIY approach is not only affordable but also gives you more control over your results. At various Baton Rouge open houses, we've seen some lovely DIY remodeling jobs and decor projects. So, how do you ensure your own DIY project goes well and yields beautiful results? Here are a few tips to help you avoid a bad DIY project.
If you follow these tips, you should have better luck with all of your DIY projects. Contact us if you're still looking for a new home to live in. Our Realtors® can help find you a place worthy of your DIY efforts.
Before you officially become a homeowner, the closing process is one of the last steps in the purchase process. Our real estate agents recommend that homebuyers understand what the closing process consists of so that they know what to expect. Here's what you need to know.
Ready to begin your home search? Contact us today to get started!
If you're searching for a home with character and historical significance, a historic home is an excellent option.
A historic home is a property that retains a significant amount of the original construction and design, is at least 50 years old (potentially less if an event of historical significance happened on the property), and is connected to events that are historically important.
However, there are a few things that make owning a historic home different from owning a typical home. Our real estate agents suggest following these tips when buying a historic home to ensure it's a great fit for your needs and budget.
Ready to check out historic homes that you can call your home? Contact us today to get started!
Looking for a house can be challenging under any circumstances. It's even more difficult when you're looking somewhere far away from the city where you currently live. There are plenty of Baton Rouge homes for sale, but how do you know which one is right for you when you're that far away? Here are a few tips for long-distance house hunting.
Worried that your home's furnishings don't complement one another? It's time to figure out your decor style!
While there's no rule that says you have to consistently stick to a specific decor style, it's usually easier to find pieces for your home when you know what style you find most appealing. Your home will also look more cohesive and put together. Our real estate agents suggest following these tips to help you determine your decor style.
Finding your home decor style can be tricky, but once you know your stylistic preferences, it's easier to find items that fit your aesthetic preferences and budget.
Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!
National Homeownership Month, which is recognized every year in June, is the perfect time to reflect on the meaning of owning a home and the benefits of this investment. Our real estate agents appreciate the value of homeownership, and we've put together 5 reasons to celebrate homeownership this June. Whether you're shopping for New Orleans homes for sale for the first time or are transitioning to a new home, here are a couple of the many reasons to celebrate homeownership.
Find your next home at our New Orleans open houses, or get in touch with our team to learn all of the ways that we can help you sell your current home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.
Smart home technology has made everyday life so much simpler. A decade or two ago, you probably could not have imagined asking your digital assistant to dim the lights or checking your security camera remotely while on vacation. But smart home technology is continually evolving, and it's important to ensure your home is up-to-date. Our real estate agents are excited to share 7 tips for updating your smart home tech.
With the tips above, you can easily raise your smart home's IQ! If you're still looking for the perfect house to make your home, contact us. Our experienced real estate agents will happily guide you through the buying process and help you search Lafayette homes for sale.
The kitchen is the heart of today's home, especially with many of us spending more time at home than we used to, so it's important for it to have all of the qualities that will help you love your kitchen. While what makes the perfect kitchen is subjective to you and your family's needs, there are several features most people will appreciate in this space. Fortunately, our real estate agents are here to take some of the guesswork out of it, so that you have a list of specific things to look for in your housing search or when you go to remodel.
Finding a house with the perfect kitchen might seem impossible, but it's totally doable once you understand what goes into making a kitchen "perfect." Not to mention, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house, since it's a multifunctional space that is responsible not only for feeding the entire family but bringing everyone together, family and friends alike. For more information on what homebuyers want in a kitchen, contact us today or stop by one of our Lafayette open houses.
Have you contacted our real estate agents, reviewed Alexandria homes for sale, and found yourself a new home? Moving is stressful, and it gets even more stressful when you have a valuable collection you need to move.
In an ideal world, after identifying a suitable home, you would move in and begin buying new things. However, in the real world, you get attached to your belongings and collections. So, you need to ensure your collection moves safely from your old to your new home. Here are helpful tips for moving your collection.
Are you looking to relocate? Contact us today to view our listing and buy your dream home!
If you have a beloved four-legged friend in your house, you know that it's not really your house. It's their house. You just live there... and pay the mortgage.
Our real estate agents know what it's like to share space with a canine or feline companion. We understand the rewards and also the challenges. It's not always easy to create a pet-friendly home that offers everything your pets require.
One of the most common things our clients always ask for when they're looking for Baton Rouge homes for sale is a place that's pet-friendly. Here's what to look for in a pet-friendly home and how you can make your place more accommodating.
Explore Pet-Friendly Homes in Baton Rouge
Check out these exciting upcoming Baton Rouge open houses to explore your next pet-friendly paradise in Louisiana. Baton Rouge also has a reputation as an amazingly pet-friendly city, with numerous dog parks, doggy daycares, pet-friendly restaurants, and top-notch veterinarians.
Contact us today to learn more about life in Baton Rouge, and be sure to ask out real estate agents about how we can find your pet's next great home. Don't worry, you can live there too.
Trying to think of a New Year's resolution for your home? Making a cleaning schedule helps you keep your home extra tidy all year long. Plus, if you are getting ready to sell your home, a cleaning schedule can help ensure your home is ready for any showings. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help you set a successful cleaning schedule for 2022.
Most people don't love cleaning, so setting a schedule can help you stay on top of it. If you're planning to sell your house soon, on the other hand, you may need to devote time to a more thorough cleaning. For more information on what should be cleaned to stage your home for sale, contact us today.
As environmentally conscious Americans look toward a more sustainable lifestyle, it quickly becomes evident that recycling is a critical part of the equation; so much so that we have recognized National Recycling Day on November 15th since 1997. Our real estate agents would like to point out some of the ways you can make your home more sustainable and how we can use recycling to improve our lives as well as the health of the planet.
Looking for a home with eco-friendly features? If you're in the market for a new home, contact us. There are plenty of gorgeous options in Lafayette, waiting just for you!
Our real estate agents know that a housewarming gift is a fantastic way to congratulate a first-time homeowner on their new purchase. When selecting a gift, you want to choose something that the recipient will find useful. Here are some housewarming gift ideas that new homeowners are sure to love.
Ready to become a first-time homeowner? Contact us today to get started!
When you first move into your new house, you might find it beautiful, but it may not quite feel like "home" yet. In order to make it feel like home, you need to give it some personality! Here are some fun and easy ways our real estate agents recommend bringing your own personality into your new space.
Remember, you don't have to decorate your home in one day. Work on it slowly, using the tips above to add personality along the way. If you're still looking for New Orleans homes for sale, don't hesitate to contact us. Our helpful real estate agents can guide you every step of the way.
Maintaining a clean and healthy household is an important part of homeownership, so our real estate agents always recommend replacing everyday household items on a regular basis. However, keeping track of when things need to be replaced can be challenging as there are so many items we use on a daily basis. To further complicate things, many household items need to be replaced more often than you'd think.
To keep a clean, safe, and healthy home, we recommend replacing these household items at regular intervals throughout the year:
No household item lasts forever, but the ones listed above need to be replaced relatively frequently to keep your home clean and healthy. For more tips on home maintenance, or to start searching Baton Rouge homes for sale, contact us today.
When you're listing your home for sale, you'll have your choice of many real estate agents to do business with. Before signing a contract, take the time to interview a few, so you understand exactly what they'll be doing to sell your home and to ensure you have a good rapport with them.
Our real estate agents suggest asking the following questions when you're interviewing agents:
Contact us today to put your home on the market with other Lafayette homes for sale or to visit homes for sale in the area. Our agents pride themselves on knowing the local market and making your real estate transaction experience an easy and pleasant one.
Choosing a real estate agent is an important part of ensuring your next real estate transaction is successful and as stress-free as possible. Before you consider buying or selling a home in the area, you want to make sure you find the right person to help you every step of the way. Our real estate agents suggest these 7 tips for finding the perfect fit.
We understand that choosing an agent is a big decision! To set up a time to chat with one of our agents, contact us today.
If you're purchasing your first home or ready to upgrade your existing residence, you're likely wondering if it's better to buy or build a home. Our real estate agents know that there is no "correct" answer to this quandary; the final answer depends on your specific needs and situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision.
Ready to start the homebuying process? Contact us to begin your search!
There are Baton Rouge homes for sale that can meet all of your needs. However, that doesn't mean you can't still do a bit of work to make your new house your own. If you're a home chef, for instance, you might like to make a few changes to making cooking easier. From minor additions to major renovations, here are a few kitchen updates to consider.
These are just a few of the ways you can update the kitchen in your new home. Whether you want to add a few finishing touches or a complete remodel, our real estate agents can help you find the best way to make your new kitchen your own. Contact us and let us help you find the perfect house for you.
As the housing market continues to be competitive due to high demand and low inventory, many buyers are forced to act quickly and pay top dollar to secure the house of their dreams. As sellers continue to select the highest and best offer, it's all too common for bidding wars to break out between prospective buyers.
If you're in the market for a new home, it's important to prepare yourself for a potential bidding war when making an offer. Our real estate agents have extensive experience when it comes to creating compelling offers, and we've compiled some things to know if you're trying to secure a new home in this market.
Keep your furniture out of the landfill and revamp your home's look by upcycling some of your existing pieces. Upcycling your furniture is a cost-effective alternative to purchasing new furniture. Our real estate agents know that strategically adding a few upcycled pieces to your home can help it appeal to potential buyers. Here are some tips to follow to help you get started.
Is it time to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!
In-ground automatic sprinklers play an important role in maintaining a high-quality lawn. Evenly distributing water across your landscaping at certain intervals throughout the day helps promote healthy grass, great-looking shrubs, and beautiful flowers. Using a sprinkler system is much more efficient than manually watering your plants each day. However, installing sprinkler systems isn't always easy. If you're planning to install your own system, below are some tips to help guide you through the process.
After you've connected the wiring, then you can test your system and fill your trenches.
You looked at Baton Rouge homes for sale and found the perfect house for your family. You're getting ready to make your offer and are considering going over the asking price. Should you? Our real estate agents encourage you to consider these things.
Contact us for expert guidance in the real estate market and start your search for the perfect home.
As spring rolls into summer, it's time to roll up the shirt sleeves and get some of those home maintenance tasks out of the way before it gets too hot. Some chores are probably obvious, such as changing the filters in the HVAC system, but our real estate agents want to call attention to some often neglected areas for the benefit of newer homeowners. A few extra precautions can save you thousands of dollars in repairs you never have to make!
While homeownership does bring the added responsibilities of maintenance, the many stunning Houma homes for sale are well worth the added efforts. Contact us today to find the house you'll want to call your home.
Historic homes offer a step back in time to an era where houses had huge front porches, hand-carved details, and picturesque features. They have cozy rooms filled with charm and character, but they're not for everyone. Purchasing a historic home often comes with upkeep, maintenance, and repairs that can put a dent in your bank account.
Historic homes are not ordinary financial investments in the real estate market. At Latter & Blum, our real estate agents know that historic homes are also emotional investments. When searching for New Orleans homes for sale, clients want to invest in historic properties because they're buying a piece of history. We help them to understand some important factors before they invest.
What is a Historic Home?
In the United States, old homes don't automatically qualify to be historic homes. Since historic homes are placed on the National Register of Historic Places, they must be at least 50 years old and meet certain criteria determined and monitored by the National Park Service. To qualify, homes must meet one out of four criteria:
Connection to significant historical events
Connection to lives of significant people
Representation of a historic style or master craftsman
Provision of important historical information
Currently, there are more than 26,000 homes and buildings listed on the National Register. States and municipalities can also designate historical districts, many found in areas of New Orleans.
If a home is located within a historic district, owners are restricted to making certain changes to the property. Districts with historic properties must preserve certain features, so permits are required before any work can occur on the home's exterior. In some cases, ordinary homes located in historic districts may face certain renovation restrictions as well.
Purchasing a Historic Home
Before purchasing a historic home or a home in a historic district, you should know the advantages and disadvantages. You should be prepared to deal with special circumstances that may impact your lifestyle and budget.
If you're interested in buying or selling a New Orleans home, contact us for more information and help with properties in the area.
When you've scrimped and saved to buy a house you may be tempted to forgo that three to five hundred dollars for a home inspection. But missing critical flaws in the property can cost you thousands in the long run. Our real estate agents will assure you that a trained observer can spot some of these pitfalls when you might not see them.
For several years running now, Baton Rouge has distinguished itself as one of the top places to move. Baton Rouge homes for sale are especially popular among first-time homebuyers. In fact, it was recently named one of the Top 10 Metros for First-Time Homeowners.
What's the secret that makes Baton Rouge so attractive? Our real estate agents love the Baton Rouge area because of the following features that make it truly one of a kind:
Ready to own your first home in the Baton Rouge area? Contact us today at Latter & Blum to find out more about real estate opportunities in the Baton Rouge area.
If you're thinking about buying one of the beautiful Baton Rouge homes for sale, a VA loan is a great option! These loans come with excellent benefits. They offer flexible credit underwriting and low-interest rates. In addition, buyers using a VA loan won't have to come up with a down payment or carry mortgage insurance (PMI).
A portion of these loans is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). However, the loans are issued by mortgage lenders and banks. Our real estate agents regularly meet with lenders to learn more about any updates to loan programs and how they could impact their clients.
There have been some changes to VA loans that go into effect in 2021. Here's what you need to know.
Benefits for National Guard Members
The biggest change affects National Guard members. Previously, VA loans were not available to members who did not have at least 90 days of active service.
Beginning in 2021, all Guard and Reserve members who have at least 90 days of service are eligible for a VA home loan, even if the service wasn't active. However, there is one caveat. At least 30 of the days of the service must be consecutive.
Increased Loan Limits
As of 2020, service members with "full entitlement" are not subject to a VA loan limit. You'll have full entitlement if you've never used a VA loan benefit, have paid off a VA loan and then sold the property, or had a foreclosure or short sale and repaid the VA in full.
However, if you have "remaining entitlement," you are subject to a limit. This can occur for several different reasons. The most common is that you have an active VA loan, they're still paying back.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the upper limit for their loans was increasing in 2021. VA loans follow these guidelines, so all VA loans closing after January 1st, 2021 also have increased loan limits. The new limit for a single-family home located in the lower 48 states is $548,250. This is an increase of 7.4% compared to 2020.
In Alaska or Hawaii, the upper limit is now $822,375. If you're buying a home in a high-cost county, you might also have some extra wiggle room. These areas will have their own limits, which are set on a local basis. This limit may be anywhere from $548,250 and $822,375.
Explore Baton Rouge Homes Today!
Whether you're planning on using a VA loan or another type of financing, now is a great time to buy a new home. There are many beautiful options on the market, and we would love to help you find the perfect one. Contact us today to get started!
With the holidays behind us, now is the perfect time to start the New Year off with a sparkling clean home. Our real estate agents suggest that homeowners create a four-seasons checklist to keep the home clean and maintained year-round. Here are seven simple tips for getting your home as clean as possible this winter.
Our real estate agents want you to close your eyes and think about the home of the future. Do you envision full tech integration, voice commands to operate everything, and special features so dazzling that you'd think you were living in 3021? Well, open your eyes to the tech of the future, available in your home today! Smart home automation brings state-of-the-art technology right into your living spaces. From the kitchen to the living room, bedroom, and even bathroom, you can outfit your home with advanced software and hardware that dynamically changes the way you live. Here's how to make your home smarter this year in five easy steps:
After a year of uncertainty and wide-swinging emotions, the arrival of New Year's Eve means all sorts of good things: Celebration, Closure, the distinctive Clink of Champagne glasses. Although it's been hard to find a silver lining this year, if there's one good thing that's come from being quarantined, it's the fact that we are being forced to slow down, reflect and get reacquainted with our homes. With that in mind, Latter & Blum Realtors share the hottest home decorating trends to ring in the New Year.
High Style Accessories
For living rooms, we are seeing comfortable, plush seating with rich tones and layered styling. Thanks to all of the virtual meetings while working from home, your home background is now more important than ever and accessorizing and styling are finally getting the credit they deserve. We see accessorizing becoming bolder, more artful and more personal in 2021.
– Cindy Bailey, Latter & Blum Realtor
Workspaces have drastically changed this year and more people are opting to take back wasted space in their home offices. A closet can easily be combined with an office, since both spaces are able to disappear behind doors when not in use. A flexible workspace and fashion-forward decor help to blend these two functions seamlessly into a space that is both inspiring and productive.
– Erynn Patania, Latter & Blum Realtor
Biophilia first hit the headlines back in 2018 and is one trend that's here to stay, especially when more people are inclined to stay home in 2021. Propelled by the sustainable living movement, homeowners have been upping their eco-credentials by filling their homes with an eclectic assortment of trailers, climbers and bloomers. From macramé pot holders to vertical gardens, biophilia is one trend that's here to stay. If you don't have time for watering, go faux.
– Lisa Thomas, Latter & Blum Realtor
Bold Colors Mixed With Neutrals
While neutral tones are still popular, bold colors are on the rise in 2021. In fact, Pantone Color chose not just one but two colors of the year for 2021 – the neutral "Ultimate Grey" paired with a lovely yellow called "Illuminating". This marriage of bold and neutral colors conveys a message of strength, warmth and hopefulness that is uplifting during these times.
– Vickie Karamales, Latter & Blum Realtor
Let's be honest, it's been a rough year, and we could all use a little light relief from the stresses of 2020. Little wonder then that one of this year's top trends is wellness spaces – rooms designed with comfort and relaxation in mind. From soothing neutral palettes to cozy bouclé blankets, this trend has got you covered even in the most stressful of times.
– Team Right Side, Latter & Blum
Looking to buy or sell a home in 2021? Visit www.latter-blum.com for all your real estate needs.
Though the exact amount is subject to seasonal and regional variations, the average power bill is $118 a month. You can lower your power bill by making your home more energy-efficient. Our real estate agents know that homes with energy-efficient features are also more attractive to potential buyers. Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate the energy efficiency of your home so that you can take steps to improve it.
Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us to get started!
During your final walk-through, a million things will be racing through your mind, and you may find yourself distracted. But this is your last important task before you become a homeowner! Consider making a checklist before sealing the deal on the house you've chosen among Lake Charles homes for sale. You don't want to overlook anything.
Here are some of the important points to keep in mind during your walk-through.
Whether you work from home full-time or sporadically need a spot to concentrate, a home office is a valuable addition to your home. If your home is lacking a space that encourages productivity, here are a few creative ways to add a home office to your property. Our real estate agents know that properties staged with a home office also show well with potential buyers.
Want to explore homes with more space? Contact us today!
Moving is a very stressful event as you struggle to get everything done in time, make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and manage the physical demands of the task. Good thing all it takes is a bit of planning to make the process go smoothly.
Our real estate agents suggest the following ways to help you maintain your sanity during a move:
It's not uncommon for older houses to have substandard lighting, so if you want a relatively fast and easy upgrade that will give you the most bang for your buck, take a look at how you can improve the lighting. After all, no one wants to hang out in a dark house or struggle to see at night! Plus, if you are planning other home improvement projects, updating the lighting is a great way to highlight your decor. Here are a few lighting upgrades our real estate agents say are worth the investment.
An old fashioned home with poor lighting can feel like a cave, which is certainly the last impression you want to give someone else when they're touring Houma homes for sale! The key to modern indoor lighting is making sure you meet all three criteria: creating ambiance, illuminating tasks, and highlighting decor. Are you wanting a professional to give you the green light for selling your home, or do you need some assistance finding your dream house? Contact us today and one of our agents will be happy to shed some light on the subject.
Did your college diploma come with a healthy portion of debt? If so, you're not alone. According to Forbes, approximately 45 million Americans are paying on student loans, for a cumulative debt total higher than that of credit cards and auto loans.
Fortunately, student loans don't mean you have to give up your dream of homeownership. Use these valuable tips from our real estate agents to buy one of the great New Orleans homes for sale, even if you have student loan debt.
Whether you're shopping for your first home or looking for a retirement nest, our cheerful and experienced real estate agents at Latter & Blum can guide you every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.
Removing old carpet can be a time-consuming DIY project, especially for those who lack experience. But knowing how to effectively remove carpet can definitely come in handy. If you're looking to switch to hardwood floors or simply looking to save a few bucks on new carpet installation, removing old carpet by yourself can have some benefits. If you're doing it for the first time, our real estate agents have outlined the best way to go about the process:
While it can be time-consuming, DIY carpet removal isn't complicated. Switching to hardwood floors is a great way to make your home stand out among these Baton Rouge homes for sale. For more tips on DIY projects, contact us today.
Whether you're moving for a great new job, picking the perfect place for your family, or simply making a long-distance move to a city you've always dreamed of calling home, there are many good reasons to move to a different state. There are also some challenges with long-distance home shopping, but technology, research, and the right real estate agent can help you overcome those obstacles. Our real estate agents know what it takes to find the perfect home from a distance, and we've got some tips to help you get started.
Take Advantage of Technology to Tour Homes from Afar
So you're shopping for Lafayette homes for sale, but your current location is nowhere near the city... no problem! Virtual tours and virtual open houses are now available in nearly every market where you might be shopping. Take advantage of these technological tools to get a detailed impression of any home that catches your eye, no matter where you're currently located.
Invest Time in Researching Neighborhoods
Loving your new home for the long haul is much easier when you also love the neighborhood where the home is located. Invest some research time in learning everything you can about neighborhoods in your target markets, focusing on the factors that matter most to you.
Choose a Real Estate Agent Who Understands Long-Distance Purchases
The right buyer's agent can take so much of the guesswork out of shopping for a home in a different state and help you handle the logistical details of a long-distance purchase. Look for a real estate agent who has experience with out of state purchases.
Learn the Real Estate Rules in Your Target Markets
Different states and communities have different regulations for real estate purchases, so make sure you understand the rules in the places where you're shopping. There may be different requirements for earnest money deposits, closing time-frames, home inspections, and more, so it helps to be prepared.
Research Real Estate Markets to See How Much Home You Can Purchase
Every real estate market is different, so you might find that your real estate budget stretches much farther in some communities than others. The right real estate agent can give you a detailed impression of your target markets, so you know exactly how much home you'll be able to afford and how the asking prices for homes that catch your eye fit within the local market.
Consider the Cost of Living When Choosing a Community
While the cost of the home is a key factor, the cost of living in your target markets will also have a major impact on your budget. Researching the cost of living will help you decide whether a neighborhood is the right fit for your budget.
Try to Attend the Home Inspection If Possible
If you can only attend one thing in person, the home inspection is a great choice. The home inspector can answer questions, tell you about smaller issues that won't affect the sale, and give you a deeper impression of the home's condition.
Can't Close in Person? No Problem
Attending the closing in person is a good thing if you can manage it, but it's certainly not a requirement. Remote closings are more popular than ever, and technology makes it possible to close on a home no matter where you're currently located.
Whether you're shopping from across the city or across the country, our team is here to help you find your next home. Contact us today.
Brigitte Fredy has made a name for herself in the New Orleans residential market over the last 30+ years, and it's clear to see why. With her passion and dedication to her career, she has built an expansive network of happy clients and earned herself Top of the Latter for decades – Latter & Blum's most prestigious award presented annually to the top-producing real estate agents across all markets.
Born in Paris, France – Brigitte has always had an eye for beautiful architecture, which naturally led her to specialize in historic properties in downtown, uptown and the French Quarter of New Orleans. Licensed in 1983, Brigitte started off her real estate career with Latter & Blum and is still with the company to this day as one of the top-producing agents. From helping clients buy their first home, second home and even third home, more of Brigitte's wide-ranging specialties include home staging, luxury condos and investment properties. Trilingual in English, French and Spanish, Brigitte's background and decades of expertise in historical properties allows her to help prospective home buyers and sellers from all walks of life.
With all of her success, Brigitte didn't get where she is today on accident. She credits her hard work, patience and flexibility as the key to her success and what helped shape her into the top-producing real estate agent she is today. Offering advice to new real estate agents, Brigitte says it's important to start as early as you can, being a successful Realtor requires a lot of time, energy and work. Her favorite part of the job? Having the flexibility to create her own work schedule, which in turn creates a good balance in her life.
When Brigitte isn't basking in the thrill of navigating a successful real estate transaction, you can probably find her cooking some delicious cuisine in her downtown condo, exercising or entertaining clients and friends. She also owns an apartment in Paris, perks of all her hard work and dedication.
In the market for a home in New Orleans? Contact Brigitte for all your real estate needs.
How to Save Money for a Down Payment
Saving money is an important life skill to practice, especially if you are thinking of buying a home. In observance of National Savings Day, take a second and think of a reason for why you would enjoy homeownership. Is it for decorative freedom? Investment purposes? More space for your family? To have a backyard for your dog?
Whatever the reason may be, we all start this process the same way – by saving money. Questions that immediately may pop into your head are, "How do I save money? How much do I save? How much house can I even afford?" Overwhelmed? Don't be. We have answers to these questions and quick tips for you to learn how to save up for a down payment in no time.
1. Set Goals
Creating a goal gives you a target to reach for your savings and setting benchmarks toward your main goal keeps you motivated. The most common range for a down payment is 5-20% of the home's purchase price. Most people aim to put down 20% because then you won't have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is an additional insurance fee a lender adds to your monthly payment. Use this down payment savings plan spreadsheet to help you visualize your savings plan.
2. Trim Your Spending
Sure - a coffee from Starbucks or a scrumptious pizza delivery may not sound like a splurge, but added up over time can equal a sizable amount of money. For example, buying a $5 coffee each morning adds up to $35 per week which turns into $140 per month, which turns into $1,680 per year. That equates to most people's monthly mortgage payment! So what can you do to cut down on spending? Start with these most common money saving practices:
3. Open a Savings Account
Perhaps one of the best strategies to help you save money is to set up a savings account. Putting your money in a separate account makes it easier to shield those funds from everyday expenses. You can also set up an auto-draft feature that will automatically transfer a certain amount of money to your savings account each month.
4. Boost Your Income
If you have the time, starting a side hustle can help you save extra cash fast! Offer to babysit, take dogs on a walk, spend some time tutoring, etc. Earning just an extra $100 per week adds up to $9,600 in two years. That's almost half of the average down payment.
5. Talk to a Lender
Even if you have no money saved for a down payment or if you aren't planning on buying for another year or two, it's always beneficial to speak with a lender to get familiar with the home loan process. Don't know what to ask? Use this worksheet that has questions you should ask your lender. Don't know a lender? You're in luck because Latter & Blum also offers mortgage services through Essential Mortgage. Get in touch with a lender here.
Fast forward a bit and voilà, you've made it! All of your hard work paid off and now you can start searching for the home of your dreams. But before you dive into the home buying game, make sure you find the right person to help you. Purchasing a home is your biggest financial investment. You'll want to be represented by a trusted real estate professional that has your best interest at heart. Latter & Blum Realtors are the best agents in the state and they are ready to make your homeownership goals come true.
Being organized takes time and effort. But does it pay off? You bet, and nowhere more than when preparing for a move.
If you've listed your house among Baton Rouge homes for sale, you've probably already thought about your move and how to minimize the stress. Take it from our real estate agents good organization is the way to get there.
To start you off, here are five excellent ways to organize your move.
Whether you're leaving Baton Rouge or joining us, our team can help! Contact us today.
This is a great time to buy a home, with interest rates at all-time lows and many motivated sellers seeking the right buyer. Of course, that means you won't be the only person house-hunting right now, and a competitive real estate market means you may have to do a little extra to make your offer stand out above the rest. Our real estate agents know what it takes to land your dream home, and we've got some practical tips to help your offer outshine the competition.
Lead Off with Your Best Offer
So you've narrowed down your list of Lafayette homes for sale, found the perfect match, and you know other buyers are competing to purchase the property. With strong competition for the home, now is not the time to lead off with a low offer that has little chance of being accepted. Instead, work with your real estate agent to put together your best offer, and show the seller that you're serious about closing the deal. When there are multiple bidders on a home, your first offer may be your only chance to impress.
Secure Your Financing ASAP
If you're in a position to make an all-cash offer, then you likely already have a leg up on the competition. For most buyers, financing the purchase is a more practical option. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a must if you want the seller to take your offer seriously, and benefits you by telling you how much home you can afford. If you can get fully underwritten before making your offer, that's an even stronger sign to sellers that you're ready to close the deal.
Be Ready to Have the Home Inspected
Some sellers have a tight timeline for finding a buyer and will want to know as soon as possible whether you will be negotiating for repairs based on what the home inspection reveals. So, the sooner you can have the home inspected, the better. Rather than wait out the inspection window (typically 5 to 10 days), get your inspector on the scene as soon as you can.
Offer a Quick Closing
Offering a faster closing is another way to make your bid stand out when the seller is facing a time crunch, and can still be an appealing perk even if the seller is on a more relaxed timeline. If you can make a quick closing happen, it can be a great option in competitive markets.
Work with the Right Real Estate Agent
The right real estate agent will be your greatest asset when putting together an offer because they can help you analyze the market, check comparable sales, and create an offer that catches the eye of the seller. They will also help you with all the little, important details of the transaction and keep things on schedule.
Add a Personal Touch
While money speaks loudest when making an offer, there are often sellers who have lived in the home for a long time and would like to see it sold to someone who will love it as much as they have. A hand-written, personal letter about why you love the home won't make up for a low-ball offer, but it can help make a difference when your offer is similar to the competition.
Searching for a real estate team that can take your home search to the next level? We can help you make a winning offer on your dream home. Contact us today.
When the global pandemic first started, Christopher and Sarra were living in Ohio and had just given birth to their first newborn daughter. Offered a new career opportunity in New Orleans, they had to quickly find a house and move.
Because of COVID-19 and their new baby, they didn't feel comfortable traveling to New Orleans and touring multiple homes in person. Instead, they reached out to Latter & Blum Realtor, Stephanie Burkett, who is highly experienced in virtual showings and selling of homes due to her experience working with military clients.
After several virtual tours, Christopher and Sarra finally found a place to call home in New Orleans without ever touring it in person. The family's experience of finding a home essentially "sight unseen" is not an uncommon one, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Below are some tips for prospective home buyers that are considering buying a home virtually.
1. Learn how to read about a listing online
Before you reach out to an agent and start an online search for your home, watch out for these red flags as you click through pictures:
2. Pick the right real estate agent
Like Christopher and Sarra, choosing an agent that is experienced in helping families relocate is a major plus when shopping for a home virtually. After all, your agent will be your eyes and ears during the entire touring process. Agents that specialize in relocation may understand more of the challenges that come along with buying a home sight unseen, especially since there are a lot more unknown factors and hand-holding involved.
Pro Tip: Don't hesitate to ask your agent the following questions: Can you help schedule movers and get different moving options and quotes? Can your agent help set up services at the home or at least provide contact information for water, gas, garbage, electrical, etc.?
Looking for a qualified Realtor? Visit here to help you find the right agent for your needs.
3. Request an in-depth video tour
Before going on a virtual tour, have the floor plan of the space handy to help with determining how big a room is or how high the ceilings are. Ideally, your agent should start the tour while driving up to the house, in order to give you a better sense of the neighborhood and local amenities. If you're a parent, you may also want to request that the agent drive to the nearby schools to give a sense of how long it would take the kids to get to school each morning. From there, the agent should show you every part of the home from every possible angle.
Pro Tip: Ask as many questions as possible — particularly about the things you can't learn just from looking at a home. Is the neighbor's dog barking all day? Can you hear planes overhead? Is there a fire station nearby? Does the house have a certain odor?
Visit our website to start your virtual home search today!
Buying a house can be an exciting process, but it can also be nerve-racking! Before you start your home search, here are five things you should know that will help you make decisions that are the best for you, your peace of mind and your wallet.
1. Know how much house you can afford. One of the biggest roadblocks for prospective home buyers is not calculating beforehand what kind of home you can afford and coming up with enough money for a down payment. Use these calculators as a guide to calculate how much you can afford in a monthly mortgage payment.
2. Know your credit history. The better your credit history, the better the chances you'll have of securing the best financing rates and terms. A good score can help save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. See how to raise your credit score to get better loan terms.
3. Have a lender pre-approve you before house shopping. These days, houses can go off the market fast. In order to be ahead of the competition, you need to make sure you're prepared to make a strong offer and having a pre-approval in hand will position you as a serious buyer. "Buyers should feel comfortable with their budget before heading out the door with their Realtor to look at houses. Most of my buyers qualify for much more than they want to spend on monthly mortgage notes. I always have a lender walk my buyers through all of the costs of buying a home and together they will decide the purchase price range to fit the buyer's lifestyle!" - Penny Stettinius, Latter & Blum agent.
4. Make a checklist of your needs, must-haves and wants. Making a list of all your wants and needs is essential. Seeing many homes at once can be overwhelming and a checklist can serve as a guide to remind you what you're looking for. It also serves as a helpful reference for your Realtor. Not sure what you are looking for in a home? Download our Wants & Needs Worksheet. If you already know your wants and needs, tell one of our agents and start shopping today!
5. Choose a Realtor that best fits your needs. One thing most people don't realize is that you can meet with several Realtors to discuss your needs and see who is the best fit for you. An experienced agent can save you time and money by helping you find your dream home and negotiate with the seller on your behalf. "I tell my clients to hire a Realtor who is full-time and answers the phone when you call! Nothing is more important than being represented by an experienced agent who you can easily communicate with. I also tell my clients to look up Realtors online and read their customer reviews." - Cindy Bailey, Latter & Blum agent.
Ready to go house shopping? Buying a home is easy with Latter & Blum! Visit latter-blum.com for all the resources you'll need to help you find your dream home!
Our real estate agents know buying a house can consume a lot of energy. Expert advice helps, but when you get to closing day, you probably just want to relax. It's time to celebrate, but don't overlook the vital things you need to do now!
Whether you've been hunting for Lafayette homes for sale or houses elsewhere in Louisiana, the basics are the same. A few quick tasks help you get the most from your place.
Here are the most crucial things:
There are many stages of "moving." These simple tasks are easy to get done, but they'll help you make your house a home. To learn more about local real estate, contact us today.
If you're considering purchasing a home, a home inspection will give you better insight regarding the condition of the home. A home inspection is an examination of the property's interior, exterior, and major systems.
Our real estate agents know that a home inspection can provide invaluable information regarding repairs that a property needs now or will require in the near future. Here's what you can expect from a home inspection.
Regardless of the outcome of your negotiations, an inspection will help you better understand the true condition of the home that you're considering purchasing.
Ready to start shopping for homes? Contact us today to get started!
2020 has been an unprecedented year in so many ways, and the current real estate market has created unique opportunities for many buyers shopping as a first-time buyer. A combination of low-interest rates and motivated sellers means that now is the perfect time to shop for a home in many markets! Our real estate agents are here to help with more info on the current market and some tips to help you prepare for purchasing your first home.
Mortgage Interest Rates Are at All-Time Lows
The interest rate on your mortgage is a crucial factor in how much home you can afford, and how much of your budget that mortgage payments will take up over time. At the time of publication, mortgage rates are at an all-time low of 2.98 percent. The Fed drops rates to stimulate the economy so that these low rates won't last forever. That's why now is the time to capitalize on this unique opportunity.
Motivated Sellers Are Ready to Make Deals
With social distancing measures and other restrictions in place in many markets across the country during 2020, sellers have had some unusual obstacles in their path when trying to find a buyer. Mix in an unsettled economy, and many sellers are more motivated than ever to make a deal. While the competition for homes is often still strong, motivated sellers make it easier for you to find the best deals as a first-time buyer.
Tips for Preparing to Purchase Your First Home
Check Your Credit and Pay Down Debts
Before you get serious about shopping for Lafayette homes for sale, it's wise to make sure that you're ready to secure a mortgage. Start by requesting your free annual credit report from the three major credit bureaus, and looking for every opportunity to improve your credit score. Paying down as many outstanding debts as possible before applying for a mortgage will help you get the best rates, and increase your purchasing power. Once your credit score is looking great, avoid making large purchases and opening new lines of credit until after purchasing your home.
Save for Your Down Payment and Closing Costs
The largest up-front costs in purchasing your first home will typically be your down payment and closing costs. Overall, you can expect these payments to be about 8 to 10 percent of the total cost of the home, at a minimum.
Get Pre-Approved to Discover Your Purchasing Power
Once your finances are looking strong, you'll be ready to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval will give you an idea of exactly how much purchasing power you have as you shop for homes and shows sellers that you're a serious buyer with the funds to close the deal.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
There are so many little details that go into purchasing your first home, and the process can be challenging to navigate when you haven't done it before. The right real estate agent will make your life easier in so many ways, from identifying homes that match your needs to negotiating the best possible deal with sellers.
Ready to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity and find your first home? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Lafayette, LA area.
Following established guidelines, Louisiana will begin Phase 1 of the opening plan on Friday, May 15th. Although this reopening is a bright beacon of hope, we must not forget that we are not fully free of the shadow of COVID-19. As we revive our sense of normalcy, our real estate agents want to assure you that we are collectively doing our part to safely serve our community as responsibly as possible.
FAQ About Louisiana Phase 1 Coronavirus Reopening
When will Louisiana reopen?
The state will enter Phase 1 of a three-phase reopening plan, as suggested by the federal government, on May 15th.
What businesses and services will be reopened in Phase 1?
Phase 1 of the reopening plan includes the opening of many services and businesses, such as barbershops/hair salons, bars that serve food, churches, funeral services, gyms and fitness centers, malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other non-essential businesses. However, many of these locations are only allowed to open if they follow strict guidelines dictating the number of individuals permitted to occupy the space and how employees, visitors, and customers must interact while following social distancing/PPE guidelines.
How long will Phase 1 last?
Currently, Louisiana is scheduled to operate under Phase 1 guidelines for 21 days, and into Phase 2 on June 15th. However, as we've seen over the last few months, the coronavirus situation can change quickly. While these dates are hopeful, they are not guaranteed and may be adjusted at any time.
How does this impact real estate services?
We want all of our associates and clients to know that Latter & Blum considers the safety and health of our community a number one priority. As essential personnel, our agents can continue to serve our community as safe, securely, and responsibly as possible. To do so, we have asked that all Latter & Blum agents follow these guidelines:
Although these guidelines are not forced upon the agents or buyers, many of our agents are voluntarily taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 out of respect to our friends, family members, and neighbors throughout the community.
If you are ready to purchase or sell property, we're ready to help. Contact us today to get started!
When Our REALTORS® bring potential homebuyers out to explore Baton Rouge homes for sale, there are always a few details that can make or break the buying decision. The design and layout of the kitchen is one of them.
Whether you're thinking about putting your home on the market soon or you're planning to stay for years, a kitchen remodel is almost always a great investment. However, if you're not well-prepared, this is the type of project that can take on a life of its own.
The following tips will help you make sure that creating your dream kitchen doesn't turn into a real nightmare.
Have you decided that it's time to make a change? Whether you're thinking about buying or selling a home, we can help make it a smooth and pleasant experience. Contact us today.
Is buying or selling a home on your list of New Year's resolutions? One of the first steps to take is finding the right agent to help guide you through the process.
Find the right agent for the job with this list of tips.
With the holidays around the corner, it's a good time to start making a list and checking it twice. Our REALTORS® know all about Baton Rouge homes for sale and gift ideas for those who recently purchased them! Get gift inspiration for the first-time homebuyer in your life with our list of top holiday gifts below.
Thinking about becoming a homeowner this holiday season? Contact us to learn more, and talk to one of our REALTORS® about finding your dream home.