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!
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.
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.
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.
If your 2022 plans include buying a home, our real estate agents know that working with an experienced agent will make a positive difference in your buying experience.
Here are a few of the ways our team can help with your 2022 real estate goals.
Ready to start working on your 2022 goals? 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!
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.
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.
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.
Choosing paint colors for your home office is about more than just aesthetics and interior decor. The colors you choose can actually have an impact on your work habits. Whether you spend just a few hours a week in your home office or work from home regularly, set yourself up for success with the right decor. Here are a few common home office colors we see in Lafayette homes for sale and how they can benefit your work habits.
The color you paint your home office walls can impact how you work, but it can also affect how your house sells, so it's important to know your goals before picking up a paintbrush. Buyers tend to gravitate toward neutral tones because they can more easily imagine themselves living in a home that isn't decorated with someone else's favorite colors. For painting tips and other easy ideas for making your house stand out, contact us today.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The home buying process can be daunting. Understanding basic terms and concepts associated with real estate can help make the process less stressful, help you identify red flags, and save you money. Our real estate agents recommend that homebuyers and those with Lake Charles homes for sale familiarize themselves with a few common terms that often pop up during the process.
Need assistance with buying or selling a Louisiana home? Our experienced real estate professionals can help. Contact us today to get started.
If you've been visiting some of the Lake Charles homes for sale, you know just how many great options there are on the market right now. Buying a home is a big commitment, so how do you know when you've found the perfect one?
Sometimes, your heart will skip a beat, and you'll feel a little flutter. Our REALTORS® love it when this happens! Other times, the decision will be a bit more challenging. You may be torn between several homes, or you might just feel unsure. In this case, you'll be looking for a sign that the home you're considering is the right one for you.
Don't worry! We've created the following list of the top nine signs that you've found your dream home.
If you haven't found your dream home yet, don't give up! Instead, contact us. We'll show you some of the best houses on the market and keep working until you're sure you've found the right one. Reach out to us today!
Open-houses and private showings are often the most exciting parts of your home search. Of course, many buyers don't always find their dream homes during the first few tours, especially if they're visiting from out of town. Thankfully, modern technology has revolutionized many aspects of the home buying process, including showings.
Prospective buyers can now virtually tour homes in Lafayette, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge from anywhere in the world without leaving their own house. Our real estate agents are excited to offer virtual tours of our many amazing Lafayette homes for sale — helping you find your Louisiana dream home from the comfort of your couch!
What is a Virtual Home Tour?
A home showing allows a prospective buyer to walk through a property they're interested in buying. Instead of walking the home in-person, a virtual home tour allows a prospective buyer to view the full interior and exterior of the property via the internet. There are two types of virtual home tours.
The first is a 3D walk-through. This function allows a viewer to explore a home through a first-person point of view with 360-degree angles. Imagine the same technology as Google Street View, only this time you're navigating your way around the interior of a home.
The second type is a custom virtual tour. Unlike standard video tours that are prerecorded and uploaded for a buyer to view at any time, a custom virtual tour employs video chatting apps to give buyers a real-time tour of the property. Real estate agents use convenient apps like FaceTime to walk each buyer through the home virtually. This allows the buyer to dictate which areas they want a closer look at and enables the agent to explain every element of the home to the buyer in exceptional detail.
Touring Lafayette Homes Virtually With Latter & Blum
Virtual tours are innovative and interactive ways for buyers to tour homes from anywhere at any time. Touring Lafayette homes for sale virtually with Latter & Blum is effortless:
If you don't have either of those applications, they're simple to download via these links:
Contact us today to schedule a virtual tour of our Lafayette homes for sale.
Even with all the home improvement shows out there, getting started on your own home improvement project for the first time can be intimidating.
Our REALTORS® know home improvement can be especially frightening for new homeowners! Make sure to follow these six tips if you are working on your first-ever home improvement project.
Start with a Plan
You should take the time to go around your new house to make a note of any potential improvements you wish to complete. Consider what order these items should be completed in and a potential timeline. For example, you may decide you want to replace windows before you paint a room to make sure you like that color with your new style of windows.
Also, make sure you are realistic with your timeline. It's always best to assume a project will run over on time or money.
Consider a Budget
Speaking of money, a budget will help you visualize your finances so you don't overspend. Once you have a plan for improving your home, a budget will help you account for the specific items and supplies you'll need to complete your tasks. Keep in mind what projects you want to allocate more of your budget for. Maybe you'd like to save money on painting your rooms by DIYing but would like to splurge on smart appliances. It's completely up to you and your budget!
Do One Part of the Home at a Time
Simple, right? Pick one part of your home that is on your plan and work on it to your satisfaction. If you are planning on a bathroom and kitchen remodel, wait until the one is completed to start the other project. You don't want to overwhelm yourself and bite off more than you can chew physically and financially.
Always Look for Inspiration
Remember those home improvement shows we mentioned? Watching them can serve as great inspiration for your bathroom or kitchen remodel. Seeing how nice dark cabinets look after a remodel of someone's home on TV might be one of the reasons you opt for a darker hue for your new cabinets.
Plus there are many ideas you can find online on sites such as Pinterest. Most of them will even provide tips for completing the project.
Another good source of inspiration could be your family and friend's homes. If you've had a friend recently complete a remodel in their home ask them for tips, what they DIYed, and if they used a contractor for certain aspects of their project.
Improve to Increase Value
If you just moved in, you might not be thinking of your resale value at the moment. But, if you work on home improvement projects that are known to increase value, you'll thank yourself later if you end up listing it among the other Baton Rouge homes for sale. Projects that are known for increasing value are energy-efficient updates, new windows, or adding a bathroom.
Looking for more home improvement tips or help finding your first home in the Baton Rouge area? Contact us today!
Any move - even if it's just down the street - requires a great deal of time and organization. But when you're moving to a new state, your list of things to do becomes longer and more complicated.
Our REALTORS® suggest the following seven tips to help you make your move to another state as smooth as possible:
Contact us if you're moving to Louisiana and are looking for Baton Rouge homes for sale. Our knowledge and experience can help make your move go as smoothly as possible as you become a Louisiana resident.
Will you be relying on a VA loan to purchase a home this year?
Many individuals are eligible to finance their homes using the VA loan program. This immensely helpful assistance program helps our veterans secure a home that meets their lifestyle and financial needs. Our team has experience helping our active and retired military members, which is why we've created this quick guide informing all veterans of the changes to VA loans occurring in 2020.
These programs will enable you to secure financing without requiring a down payment or mortgage insurance. It's common for VA loan program rules to be adjusted slightly due to new legislation or modifications to the program based on industry changes.
On January 1st, 2020, a new law will go into effect that expands VA disability benefits and impacts home loan limits.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 became law in June and will go into effect immediately in 2020. This law was created to provide relief to veterans who served in the Vietnam War, specifically those who suffered medical complications that were presumably caused via exposure to herbicides or "Agent Orange." These individuals can provide financial compensation from the VA to treat their conditions.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 addresses many other issues, along with Agent Orange medical compensation. This law affects a variety of factors that those serving during the Vietnam-era, Korean-era, and Gulf War-eras can benefit from, including removing restrictions on VA loan limits.
Currently, if you wanted to purchase a home using a VA loan that costs more than the FHA limit, you would have to contribute a down payment that covers roughly 25 percent of the difference. Luckily, this new law removes the loan limit veterans are eligible for, allowing them to purchase homes of higher value without requiring a down payment.
Also, there are loan fee changes associated with this new law. When receiving a VA loan, many veterans are subject to a "funding fee" unless they are receiving disability benefits from the VA. As the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 goes into effect, it will eliminate this fee for Purple Heart recipients as well. However, all other veterans will see a funding fee increase from 2.15 percent of the loan amount to 2.30 percent. Fees for those who are not first-time homebuyers with the VA loan will see fee increases from 3.3 percent to 3.6 percent.
The removal of loan caps and the small increase in funding fees is believed to make homeownership more accessible for veterans while funding the medical coverage for those who were injured during the Vietnam, Korean, and Gulf Wars.
First-time home-buying can be stressful and confusing if you aren't prepared ahead of time. However, just because you're looking for a starter home doesn't mean you should sacrifice all of what you hope to gain in return. Baton Rouge homes for sale offer a wide variety of possible options to get you into your first home without needing to compromise your expectations. When you're ready to get the ball rolling, there are a few things you should look for in a starter home.
You may have a vision of what your first home will look like, but that vision may not align with financial and other considerations. You don't necessarily have to lower your expectations and settle for something less., but you should be aware of what your confined limits are in terms of lot size, mortgage payments, and what you are financially and physically able to keep up with. Buying a home is a huge commitment. While you may not be able to get everything you want right away, you can always upgrade or remodel. That's the beauty of owning your own home – it's yours to do with as you please! Knowing your limits also includes:
The home-buying process has to make sense for your specific needs and wants, but you don't need to compromise what you are willing to accept. You must be realistic in terms of what is best for you in the short and long term.
Starter homes are widely available and, in most cases, they cost less due to the size and limitations of the home itself. This is not to say you can't find something to your liking, but these homes are for people looking to establish themselves as homeowners. Along with affordability and other financial obligations, some things to consider include:
When considering an exit strategy, you may not necessarily need to resell your home, but instead, you could rent it out and keep it as an investment property.
Buying a starter home is a great way to get you and your family into a place you can call your own. Our REALTORS® can help you find the perfect location for you while keeping you within the limitations of what you're looking for and able to afford. When you're ready to take that first step, contact us and we'll get you started on the right path to finding your new starter home.
Saving up for a down payment can seem like a daunting challenge at first. However, with a little planning and some adjustments in your spending patterns, you can save up for a down payment using these tips from our REALTORS®.
When browsing homes in Baton Rouge, it's easy to focus your attention on the aesthetic of the home, the amenities of the neighborhood, and other important features. However, there's one important factor some hopeful buyers don't consider soon enough — the commute time to work.
Our REALTORS® believe your commute time should be one of the most important factors you weigh in your home buying decision. Your commute time to work will impact your life almost every day, which is why it should always be factored into the home-buying process.
Consider Your Current Commute Time
Think about your current commute time to work. How many miles do you travel roundtrip? Does the commute time fluctuate if you're traveling at different times of the day? Are you a parent who needs to drop a child off at school or an employee who needs to make frequent stops before arriving at the office? Consider all of these factors:
Your time is an important factor to consider. Even if your drive doesn't stress you out, does it cut into the time you need after-hours to live your life fully? If being stuck in daily rush hour traffic forces you to miss out on important moments in your life, you should reconsider a long commute. Remember, you aren't getting paid extra for a longer commute, and you won't be able to regain that time spent.
You should consider the monetary investment your commute requires. This includes gas, tolls, transportation passes, car maintenance, and other costs that will only subtract from your gross take-home pay. If you find that you're spending thousands of dollars each year commuting, you're effectively lowering your salary.
Depending on your role or employer, commuting long distances may put you in a pickle. If you need to be at work on the dot, a long commute with heavy traffic could cause you to be late. Similarly, if you're an employee that's on-call or may have to travel around town at a moment's notice, living far from this area could be a huge inconvenience.
Before you consider all other factors, remember your health is always your number one priority. Some studies have shown that extended commuting times can contribute to several physical and psychological health issues, which increases if you have a career with high levels of stress. If you believe a shorter commute would positively impact your health, you should look for homes for sale closer to your office.
A long commute is not always an inconvenience or a stressful occurrence. Many people choose to live in the suburbs and commute into a city regardless of time commitment. If you believe that your health, career, family, or finances will be negatively impacted by an extensive commute to work, we suggest looking closer to your office.
As your lifestyle needs change over time, so too will your housing needs. Many older adults discover their larger family homes are a little too big to maintain after children move out. If you're enjoying retirement or looking to retire soon, you may consider moving into a smaller, more manageable home. Our REALTORS® understand downsizing to a new space is easier said than done, which is why we've gathered a list of moving tips for retirees and older adults.
We also provide clients with strategies to get to closing day faster and easier.
Buying a home can seem complicated, and it's an exceptionally tall order for those who've never done it before. Luckily, we have some steps to improve your odds of buying your dream home.
Here are seven habits of highly successful home buyers:
No Matter What Stage of Buying You're In, Expert Advice is Essential
For first-time buyers, navigating real estate can be like wandering a hall of mirrors.
Even if you're months away from being ready to make an offer on a home, don't hesitate to reach out to your friendly local real estate agents. Expert advice can get you on track, dispel worrisome real estate myths, and save you time in the long run.
Contact us to find out more.
If you're planning on becoming a homeowner, you're probably well aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Countless factors can either open the door to homeownership or close it. For better or worse, your credit score is one of those factors, and our REALTORS® are here to help make sure that little number doesn't hold you back. Here's what you need to know about how to improve your credit score to buy a house.
Why does a credit score matter when you're buying a house?
A credit score is certainly not the only consideration that will determine your ability to get a mortgage, but it's a big one. Lenders look at credit scores as a measure of financial trustworthiness – a reflection of how reliably you pay off your debts. If your credit score is low, a lender might worry about your ability to pay back a home loan.
Buying a house with bad credit isn't impossible, but it can be a whole lot harder. Even if you are able to get a loan, it probably won't have the terms and conditions you'd prefer. Buyers with low credit typically only qualify for subprime loans, which come with much higher interest rates, so it pays to work on your credit before you start shopping around for a lender.
What is good credit?
So, what makes a good credit score, and what makes a bad credit score? There isn't always an easy answer to that question. Each lender will have her own idea of what score is acceptable, so if your score is somewhere in the middle of the range between good and not-so-good, your results will likely vary depending on where you seek out a loan. But in general, credit scores break down as follows:
How can you improve your credit score?
If your credit score is in the mid 700s or higher, you probably don't have to worry too much about whether or not you can get a mortgage. But if you're anywhere south of that range, it's worthwhile to try to boost your credit score before trying to get a loan. Luckily, there are several ways you can accomplish that goal:
If you're in the market for Baton Rouge homes for sale, our team is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about how you can improve your credit score to make your dreams of homeownership a reality.
The media, financial advisors, and even real estate experts are calling the current $1.5 trillion national student loan debt anything from a "crisis" to an outright national emergency. While there's certainly cause for concern, living a normal life, having a family, and even owning a home isn't out of the picture even if you have student loans.
Our REALTORS® are plenty familiar with the challenges that student loan borrowers face as they enter into the workforce including homeownership. The bottom line is, you can buy a home with student loan debt, and here's how.
Monitor Your Credit and Improve It
If you're a first-time homebuyer, chances are you haven't looked too deeply into your credit and perhaps have never had to. This is a great place to start if you're looking to buy a home with student debt on the books.
It's estimated that on average, student loan borrowers owe somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 each. This sort of debt obligation can hurt your credit, but it can also show that you're worthy of credit if you make timely, regular payments on your loan note. Additionally, if there are places you can improve your credit such as reducing or eliminating credit card debt, then you can improve your credit score relatively easily.
Your Debt May Be An Asset
Depending on your view of your student loan debt, it may actually be one of your greatest assets. Assuming you put that debt to good use and earned a college degree, chances are that your earnings are higher at your age than they were when your parents joined the workforce.
What this means is that the return on your investment may very well be worth the extra debt and additional payments you have each month. You're likely to be in a better financial situation with your income than the Baby Boomer generation which means you can likely afford to buy a home sooner. All of that to say, leverage the added income you have and put it towards homeownership.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Provided you've done your homework thus far by monitoring and improving your credit and paying down any debts that are holding you back, then you should seriously consider applying for a mortgage and getting pre-approved. Pre-approval simply means that based on the snapshot of your personal finances, a lender is willing to give you a certain amount of money for a mortgage.
This may not seem like a big deal, but it can be a major boost to your home search because you have a better idea of how much you can spend on a home and allow you to understand what payments you can make. Additionally, pre-approval will likely lock you into a favorable interest rate that will be protected from rising in the future.
Getting approved for a mortgage along with mapping out your future student loan payment options can give you a very firm grasp on exactly what you can expect from likely your two biggest monthly expenses. From there, you can shop for a home within a fixed price window.