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Articles Tagged "Homebuyers"

Latter & Blum REALTORS® Blog Home

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September
16

Kitchen

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:

August
17

DIY Projects

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.

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July
20

closing process tips

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. 

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July
8

Historic Home Tips

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. 

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July
6

house hunting

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.

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June
24

home decor

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. 

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June
6

homeownership

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.

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May
20

Smart Home Tech

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.

  1. Start with the Thermostat
    If you don't already have a smart thermostat, this is the first smart appliance to invest in. A smart thermostat will allow you to adjust your home's temperature while you're away. It will also help you more closely monitor your energy consumption. This one upgrade can yield significant savings on your energy bill and pay for itself in no time.

  2. Add a Second Smart Camera
    If you don't already have a smart camera or video doorbell at your main door, then this is an important upgrade to make. Video doorbells give you so much security. You'll never have to guess who's on the other side of the door. 

    If you do already have a video doorbell at your front door, consider adding a second one at your side or back door. This will help you make sure nobody tampers with these entrances while you're away.

  3. Install a Smart Toilet
    Smart toilets keep themselves clean. They also have heated seats, deodorizer sprayers, and low-flush technology. 

  4. Keep Cool With Smart Shades
    In Louisiana, summers get hot. But you can keep your home cooler with smart shades. These automated shades roll up when it's dark out and down when it's sunny. They keep the heat outside where it belongs. You can control the shades remotely with your smartphone and set unique opening and closing schedules for each day of the week.

  5. Add WiFi-Compatible Lights
    WiFi-compatible lights are awesome because they're energy-efficient, but they're also a lot of fun. You can set these lights to flicker like a strobe light when you're having a party. Dim them down for a romantic evening, or turn them up when you're reading. You can even turn the lights on remotely to make it look like someone's home while you're away. 

  6. Install Smart Locks
    How many times have you pulled into the parking lot at work, then realized you forgot to lock your house? If you have smart locks, this won't be a concern. You can just pull out your phone and lock your home remotely. Smart locks are an incredible investment for busy parents. They also make it easy to unlock your home to let a guest inside. You won't have to hand out spare keys anymore.

  7. Invest in Smart Irrigation Systems
    There are several types of smart irrigation systems that make watering your plants so much easier. Self-watering pots are nice for potted herbs and flowers. If you have a larger flower bed, you may want to have a landscaper install smart sprinklers. You can even install smart sprinklers throughout your lawn, so your grass stays nice and green with less effort. We've seen these at some Lafayette open houses, and they're very convenient.

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

March
25

Kitchen Tips

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.

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March
2

Moving Tips

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.

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February
9

Pet Home Tips

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. 

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January
7

Cleaning Schedule

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. 

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November
5

Sustainable Home

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. 

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October
22

Gift IdeasOur 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. 

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October
18

Home Decor Tips

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.

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October
6

Household Items

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. 

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September
17

Interview Real Estate Agents

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:

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August
18

Real Estate Agent Tips

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.

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August
13

Build or Buy a Home

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. 

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July
7

Kitchen Updates

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.

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June
30

Bidding War

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.

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July
2

Furniture Tips

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. 

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June
25

Sprinkler SystemIn-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.

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June
9

Asking Price

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. 

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May
28

DIY Houma Tips

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!

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May
17

Historic Homes

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.

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May
5

Home Inspection Baton Rouge

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.

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April
7

first time homebuyersFor 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:

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February
3

VA Loan Louisiana

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. 

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January
7

Home Cleaning Latter

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.

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January
5

Smart Home 2021Our 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:

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December
30

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 

Multifunctional Spaces
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
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

Wellness Spaces
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.

December
22

Energy Efficient Home

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. 

  1. Look at Your Entire House
    When you're determining how energy-efficient your home is, it's easy to get caught up on certain aspects, like your old windows or dated appliances. However, it's important to look at your entire home rather than individual components when calculating your home's energy efficiency. A home constructed with energy-efficient materials in a resourceful design won't be impacted as much by smaller details, like older windows and doors. Instead of replacing these items, it might be more cost-effective to caulk and repair any holes or cracks creating drafts. Consult with your power company to see if it offers a free energy assessment. This will help you determine what areas of your home are using the most energy and what changes you can make to conserve energy. 
  1. See That Your Home Has Ample Insulation
    As prospective buyers are touring Alexandria homes for sale, they're searching for properties that will minimize their future out-of-pocket expenses. If your home has ample insulation, this will lower your home's energy bills, allowing you (and your potential buyers) to lower your heating and cooling expenses. Add insulation to any areas where your home might be lacking, such as your attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Check that your doors and windows are also properly insulated. A fresh layer of weatherstripping is a quick, easy way to boost your home's energy efficiency. 
  1. Seek Out Replacement Products with Favorable Energy Efficiency Ratings
    If you have components in your home using or wasting excessive amounts of energy, like an old HVAC system or single-pane windows, it's wise to consider replacing them. Focus on replacing one thing at a time, and seek out replacement products with favorable energy efficiency ratings. This will make it easy for you to reduce your energy costs. Don't forget the accessories in your home! Your window draperies are a powerful tool for blocking out the sun's hot rays during the warmer months and keeping frigid drafts out during the colder months. Utilize heat-reflecting window coverings during the hot months and insulating drapes in the chilly months. 
  1. Review Your Daily Habits
    A few changes to your daily routine can lower your home's energy consumption. If you forget to turn your lights and electronics off, use a smart plug so that you can put them on a timer or even cut them off when you're away from home. Close your draperies on hot days, especially in windows that face the sun. Try to run only full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher when possible. Use cold water, and utilize your device's moisture sensor to avoid overdrying your clothing. If you cook a lot of small meals, invest in a toaster oven or electric pan, as they use less energy than a full-size oven or stove. Check that your oven and stove are clean before using them; dirty appliances don't operate as efficiently. 

Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us to get started!

December
22

Final Walkthrough TipsDuring 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.  

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December
18

 Lafayette Home Office

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. 

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December
18

New Orleans Moving Tips

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:  

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November
27

Lighting Upgrades

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.

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November
9

Student Loan Debt

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.

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November
4

Removing Carpet

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:

  1. Gather Tools And Supplies
    If you're planning a DIY carpet removal, there are a few items you'll need before you start the job. As far as tools go, you'll want to invest in a good utility knife, a hammer/pry bar, a sharp-bladed floor scraper, a pair of pliers, and some heavy-duty trash bags.

    You'll also want to be sure to have the right protective equipment as well. Use a good pair of work gloves as your hands may come into contact with sharp tack strips or rough carpet backing. You will also need a dust mask. The process is likely to disperse particles, allergens, and bacteria into the air, protecting your lungs is important. Protective goggles are also recommended to protect your eyes from flying nails or debris.

  2. Prepare The Room
    Before you begin tearing up the carpet, you'll need to prepare the room. You'll want to start by removing doors from their hinges (including closet doors). Next, remove all furniture from the room. Once the carpet is completely accessible, it's time to begin the work.

  3. Start The Work
    Once you begin removing the carpet, the process is fairly simple. We recommend starting in the corner of the room. Using pliers, grab the carper and pull it up until it detaches from the tack strips. Then, use your hand to continue pulling carpet along the wall.

    After you've detached two or three feet of carpet, begin to cut the carpet into strips using a utility knife. Roll-up the strips and remove the carpet from the room. Removing the carpet in pieces allows for easier disposal. If there is a carpet pad underneath, remove it by following the same process described above.

    After you've removed the carpet and any additional padding, you can begin to remove the tack strips and nails using your pry bar or hammer. Keep in mind, there will be hundreds or even thousands of nails. We recommend using your floor scrape (instead of pliers). Otherwise, the process can take quite a while.

  4. Cleaning Up
    After the carpet and carpet pad is removed, scrape off any glue stuck to the floorboards and give the floor a good sweep to capture any remaining debris. We also recommend cleaning your floor with a mop prior to installing any new carpet or flooring materials.

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.

October
23

Buying a Home in a New State

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.

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October
16

 

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.

October
12

 

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: 

    • Cook meals at home   
    • Use discount codes or coupons 
    • Cancel memberships you aren't using
    • Reduce your cable bill 
    • Buy generic where you can

 

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.

September
23

Organized Move

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.

  1. Make a Moving Schedule
    Create a moving schedule, on a printed document, or on the calendar feature of your phone or computer. This will give you the big picture of your move, as your schedule when you want to hire movers; create a packing schedule (schedule a couple of hours a day to pack, if you're going to do it yourself); note deadlines for getting rid of stuff; note dates for contacting utilities; mark known dates for events pertaining to the sale of your current home or the acquisition of your destination home, and note details about the move itself.

  2. Declutter
    You will be amazed at how much of your stuff you will not want once you move it to your new home. Save money by saying goodbye to a quarter of your stuff before you move. Hold a garage sale; sell items through the app LetGo, on eBay, or on Facebook Marketplace. Offer what you can't sell to friends or co-workers, or give it away. You may have to leave some things on the curb for pickup. 

  3. Create a System
    Make your move organized by using a color-coding system, so you know what box goes in what room. Apply circular, different-colored stickers to boxes; create color-coded cards to match the stickers. Cards should be hung in the doorways to rooms where boxes go. Create a master copy of your moving legend, complete with color codes and instructions. Make more than one copy, to be dispersed throughout the destination home. Finally, create or buy self-adhesive moving labels, on which you list the contents of each box. Stick the stickers on the label and on top of the box.

  4. Gather Packing Supplies
    Get packing supplies from the home store or a moving store. Get boxes in different sizes, but mostly the smaller size boxes where you can pack fewer but heavier items such as books. Get packing tape and a dispenser, wide felt markers and packing material such as bubble wrap.

  5. Be Careful with Fragile Items
    You don't want to show up at your new home with boxes of broken items! Boxes should be full, but weigh no more than 50 pounds per box. If packed items don't fill up the box, fill the space with newspaper or bubble wrap or air pillows, so they don't shift around when moved. Mark boxes that contain fragile items. Use arrows on boxes if it's important they stay upright.

Whether you're leaving Baton Rouge or joining us, our team can help! Contact us today. 

September
25

competitive market

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.

Click Here to Read More...

September
17

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:

  • Are there more photos of the home's exterior than the interior? If so, the inside might need work.
  • Photos with closed curtains or blinds could potentially be hiding an unfavorable view.
  • If a picture of a bathroom focuses on a sink, it can mean the bathroom is very small.
  • Photos that appear stretched may be smaller than it appears online.
  • Be aware of listing terms. A "fixer-upper" can mean an investment opportunity or require updating.

 

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!

September
8

  

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!

September
11

Buying a Home Lafayette

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:

Click Here to Read More...

September
2

Home Inspection

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. 

  1. A Home Inspection Examines Items That are Readily Visible
    During the home inspection, the inspector can only examine things that are already visible or are easily visible by opening a door, cabinet, or drawer (something that's fairly accessible). The inspector can't pull up flooring or smash walls, nor will they move furniture. That's not to say that a home inspection only looks for surface-level problems. Your inspector will look for problems that may not be obvious to the average homebuyer, such as grading problems, foundation issues, and leaks in the plumbing system. As long as the home's roof isn't extremely steep, your inspector will likely inspect the roof, gutters, shingles, and any skylights. Some items that a home inspection won't look for or check include:
    • Termites and other household pests
    • Chimney condition
    • Radon levels
    • Well condition
    • Water quality
  1. A Home Inspection Will Take at Least a Couple of Hours
    On average, a home inspection takes anywhere from two to four hours. The length of time the inspection takes depends on the size of the home. Your inspector will examine any structure that's physically connected to the home; this includes the garage, basement, attic, and bonus room. Sheds or barns not attached to the home aren't included in the inspection. It's allowed and even encouraged for the buyer to attend the home inspection. This will give you a chance to learn how the systems in various Alexandria homes for sale work. You can also ask questions about any items that the inspector thinks are potentially a major issue.
  1. A Home Inspector Will Provide You With a Report After the Inspection
    After the inspection, your inspector will provide you with a comprehensive report that details their findings. This report is an extensive document that will go over everything that the home inspector examined during their inspection. The report will state the inspector's findings for the item examined, including the condition for the item and the anticipated additional lifespan for major systems and appliances. Your report will also include a section that states which items the inspector recommends be immediately repaired or replaced. Many homeowners are overwhelmed when they receive a report that lists dozens of defects. Remember, many of these defects are likely to be relatively minor. Focus on the items that are a potential safety hazard or that will be expensive or time consuming to repair or replace. You may be able to get the seller to adjust the price if the inspection shows that the home needs a lot of costly, unexpected repairs.

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!

August
21

Buying a First Home

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.

May
15

Reopening Louisiana

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.

Click Here to Read More...

January
21

Kitchen Remodel

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.

  1. Pad Your Budget
    Despite best intentions, home remodeling projects almost always end up coming in over budget. This is particularly true if you're taking on a DIY project. Make sure you're prepared to deal with unexpected issues by adding 10 to 15 percent of the amount you plan to spend. If you don't end up spending it, you'll come out ahead, but if you run into a bump in the road, having the extra cushion will help you avoid financial stress. 

    Click Here to Read More...

January
14

December
23

Choosing an Agent

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. 

  1. Get Referrals and References
    Talk to friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who have bought or sold real estate and find out about their experience with their real estate agent. Were they happy with the service and guidance they received? Would they recommend the real estate agent they used to you? Ask detailed questions, including what they liked best and least, and how well the agent handled communication.

  2. Talk to Several Agents
    Interview several agents and ask about their experience, education, and background. If you're interested in a specific neighborhood or type of house, ask about their experience and knowledge with these. Listen to their questions and feedback, and after the interview, think about whether you were comfortable. You'll want to feel at ease asking questions and expressing any concerns throughout the process.

  3. Local Knowledge
    How long has your potential agent lived in and worked in real estate in your community? Local knowledge is fundamental, so look for an agent who knows about specific neighborhoods, ordinances, market trends, recreation, schools, and more in your community. He or she should be an expert in local information and trends that can affect real estate.

  4. Ask about Their Specialty
    Over time, real estate agents start to have more knowledge and experience with certain situations. For example, if you're looking for high-end homes, one real estate agent may specialize more in this area than another. Others may specialize in different types of properties, such as those with a lot of land, starter homes, or foreclosures, so choose one that has special knowledge and interest in what you're looking for.

  5. Look for Someone Responsive
    During a real estate transaction, you'll have pressing deadlines and will need someone responsive. He or she won't always be available to take your call right at the moment, but you should expect a return call within a reasonable time frame. One way to judge how responsive they'll be once you're a client is to determine how long it takes them to return your call or online request when you're starting your search for an agent. If they don't respond to your call or message relatively promptly, you should consider contacting another agent.

  6. Find an Agent Who Cares
    Overall, they should care about finding the right home for you or selling your current home. You're looking for someone who will understand your specific needs and goals for finding a new home or selling your current one. He or she should answer any questions you have, offer suggestions, and work to help you sell your home for the best possible price or find a home within your budget that has the attributes you're looking for.

If you're looking for Baton Rouge homes for sale, our real estate agents have the experience, knowledge, and caring attitude to help you find the right home for you. Contact us today to get started. 

December
9

Gifts for Homebuyers

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. 

  1. Tool Box
    If there's one thing a first-time homeowner will appreciate, it's a well-stocked toolkit. Owning a home means taking responsibility for ongoing maintenance and everyday DIY projects. And while we certainly hope your new home doesn't need repairs any time soon, it's always good to be prepared. Choose a toolbox that comes with all the essentials, like pliers, socket wrenches, a hammer, tape measure, drill, and assorted drill bits. 

  2. House Plants
    Nothing brightens up a new home like a few splashes of green. House plants don't just look great. They also improve air quality inside your house. Plus, if you know someone who is buying a house in winter, they'll probably be grateful for some extra greenery. 

    Click Here to Read More...

Latter & Blum
430 Notre Dame St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(866) 794-1022

Agency License Information: Latter & Blum is licensed in Louisiana by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission. Latter & Blum is also licensed in Texas and Mississippi.

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