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.
Worried that your home's furnishings don't complement one another? It's time to figure out your decor style!
While there's no rule that says you have to consistently stick to a specific decor style, it's usually easier to find pieces for your home when you know what style you find most appealing. Your home will also look more cohesive and put together. Our real estate agents suggest following these tips to help you determine your decor style.
Finding your home decor style can be tricky, but once you know your stylistic preferences, it's easier to find items that fit your aesthetic preferences and budget.
Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!
National Homeownership Month, which is recognized every year in June, is the perfect time to reflect on the meaning of owning a home and the benefits of this investment. Our real estate agents appreciate the value of homeownership, and we've put together 5 reasons to celebrate homeownership this June. Whether you're shopping for New Orleans homes for sale for the first time or are transitioning to a new home, here are a couple of the many reasons to celebrate homeownership.
Find your next home at our New Orleans open houses, or get in touch with our team to learn all of the ways that we can help you sell your current home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the New Orleans, LA area.
Have you contacted our real estate agents, reviewed Alexandria homes for sale, and found yourself a new home? Moving is stressful, and it gets even more stressful when you have a valuable collection you need to move.
In an ideal world, after identifying a suitable home, you would move in and begin buying new things. However, in the real world, you get attached to your belongings and collections. So, you need to ensure your collection moves safely from your old to your new home. Here are helpful tips for moving your collection.
Are you looking to relocate? Contact us today to view our listing and buy your dream home!
If you have a beloved four-legged friend in your house, you know that it's not really your house. It's their house. You just live there... and pay the mortgage.
Our real estate agents know what it's like to share space with a canine or feline companion. We understand the rewards and also the challenges. It's not always easy to create a pet-friendly home that offers everything your pets require.
One of the most common things our clients always ask for when they're looking for Baton Rouge homes for sale is a place that's pet-friendly. Here's what to look for in a pet-friendly home and how you can make your place more accommodating.
Explore Pet-Friendly Homes in Baton Rouge
Check out these exciting upcoming Baton Rouge open houses to explore your next pet-friendly paradise in Louisiana. Baton Rouge also has a reputation as an amazingly pet-friendly city, with numerous dog parks, doggy daycares, pet-friendly restaurants, and top-notch veterinarians.
Contact us today to learn more about life in Baton Rouge, and be sure to ask out real estate agents about how we can find your pet's next great home. Don't worry, you can live there too.
Trying to think of a New Year's resolution for your home? Making a cleaning schedule helps you keep your home extra tidy all year long. Plus, if you are getting ready to sell your home, a cleaning schedule can help ensure your home is ready for any showings. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help you set a successful cleaning schedule for 2022.
Most people don't love cleaning, so setting a schedule can help you stay on top of it. If you're planning to sell your house soon, on the other hand, you may need to devote time to a more thorough cleaning. For more information on what should be cleaned to stage your home for sale, contact us today.
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!
With the housing market soaring, many people are selling their homes at tremendous profit margins. But some sellers are maximizing their income even further by investing in a few upgrades. At this stage of the game, it's important to purchase items that will bring in a healthy return on investment. New appliances are a good option! Our real estate agents have a few recommendations to consider.
These appliance upgrades will make your home more efficient and comfortable while you reside there. They are also tried and true methods of boosting the sale value of your home. Contact us if you are considering selling, and our real estate professionals will be happy to offer additional insights.
As environmentally conscious Americans look toward a more sustainable lifestyle, it quickly becomes evident that recycling is a critical part of the equation; so much so that we have recognized National Recycling Day on November 15th since 1997. Our real estate agents would like to point out some of the ways you can make your home more sustainable and how we can use recycling to improve our lives as well as the health of the planet.
Looking for a home with eco-friendly features? If you're in the market for a new home, contact us. There are plenty of gorgeous options in Lafayette, waiting just for you!
Our real estate agents know that a housewarming gift is a fantastic way to congratulate a first-time homeowner on their new purchase. When selecting a gift, you want to choose something that the recipient will find useful. Here are some housewarming gift ideas that new homeowners are sure to love.
Ready to become a first-time homeowner? Contact us today to get started!
When you'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.
Historic homes offer a step back in time to an era where houses had huge front porches, hand-carved details, and picturesque features. They have cozy rooms filled with charm and character, but they're not for everyone. Purchasing a historic home often comes with upkeep, maintenance, and repairs that can put a dent in your bank account.
Historic homes are not ordinary financial investments in the real estate market. At Latter & Blum, our real estate agents know that historic homes are also emotional investments. When searching for New Orleans homes for sale, clients want to invest in historic properties because they're buying a piece of history. We help them to understand some important factors before they invest.
What is a Historic Home?
In the United States, old homes don't automatically qualify to be historic homes. Since historic homes are placed on the National Register of Historic Places, they must be at least 50 years old and meet certain criteria determined and monitored by the National Park Service. To qualify, homes must meet one out of four criteria:
Connection to significant historical events
Connection to lives of significant people
Representation of a historic style or master craftsman
Provision of important historical information
Currently, there are more than 26,000 homes and buildings listed on the National Register. States and municipalities can also designate historical districts, many found in areas of New Orleans.
If a home is located within a historic district, owners are restricted to making certain changes to the property. Districts with historic properties must preserve certain features, so permits are required before any work can occur on the home's exterior. In some cases, ordinary homes located in historic districts may face certain renovation restrictions as well.
Purchasing a Historic Home
Before purchasing a historic home or a home in a historic district, you should know the advantages and disadvantages. You should be prepared to deal with special circumstances that may impact your lifestyle and budget.
If you're interested in buying or selling a New Orleans home, contact us for more information and help with properties in the area.
When you've scrimped and saved to buy a house you may be tempted to forgo that three to five hundred dollars for a home inspection. But missing critical flaws in the property can cost you thousands in the long run. Our real estate agents will assure you that a trained observer can spot some of these pitfalls when you might not see them.
For several years running now, Baton Rouge has distinguished itself as one of the top places to move. Baton Rouge homes for sale are especially popular among first-time homebuyers. In fact, it was recently named one of the Top 10 Metros for First-Time Homeowners.
What's the secret that makes Baton Rouge so attractive? Our real estate agents love the Baton Rouge area because of the following features that make it truly one of a kind:
Ready to own your first home in the Baton Rouge area? Contact us today at Latter & Blum to find out more about real estate opportunities in the Baton Rouge area.
If you're thinking about buying one of the beautiful Baton Rouge homes for sale, a VA loan is a great option! These loans come with excellent benefits. They offer flexible credit underwriting and low-interest rates. In addition, buyers using a VA loan won't have to come up with a down payment or carry mortgage insurance (PMI).
A portion of these loans is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). However, the loans are issued by mortgage lenders and banks. Our real estate agents regularly meet with lenders to learn more about any updates to loan programs and how they could impact their clients.
There have been some changes to VA loans that go into effect in 2021. Here's what you need to know.
Benefits for National Guard Members
The biggest change affects National Guard members. Previously, VA loans were not available to members who did not have at least 90 days of active service.
Beginning in 2021, all Guard and Reserve members who have at least 90 days of service are eligible for a VA home loan, even if the service wasn't active. However, there is one caveat. At least 30 of the days of the service must be consecutive.
Increased Loan Limits
As of 2020, service members with "full entitlement" are not subject to a VA loan limit. You'll have full entitlement if you've never used a VA loan benefit, have paid off a VA loan and then sold the property, or had a foreclosure or short sale and repaid the VA in full.
However, if you have "remaining entitlement," you are subject to a limit. This can occur for several different reasons. The most common is that you have an active VA loan, they're still paying back.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the upper limit for their loans was increasing in 2021. VA loans follow these guidelines, so all VA loans closing after January 1st, 2021 also have increased loan limits. The new limit for a single-family home located in the lower 48 states is $548,250. This is an increase of 7.4% compared to 2020.
In Alaska or Hawaii, the upper limit is now $822,375. If you're buying a home in a high-cost county, you might also have some extra wiggle room. These areas will have their own limits, which are set on a local basis. This limit may be anywhere from $548,250 and $822,375.
Explore Baton Rouge Homes Today!
Whether you're planning on using a VA loan or another type of financing, now is a great time to buy a new home. There are many beautiful options on the market, and we would love to help you find the perfect one. Contact us today to get started!
Baseboards help give your home a neat, finished appearance, but they can often develop cracks and gaps at the top or bottom as well as other appearance issues. In addition to making your home look less than its best, these flaws can allow drafts to enter your home. They also serve as dust-collecting crevices that make it more difficult to keep your baseboards clean.
Caulk, which is flexible, can dry out over time, and become cracked. Fortunately, fixing the problem is a great DIY project that can be taken care of in an afternoon. Our real estate agents share the following tips and tricks for repairing and caulking baseboards:
For a small investment of time and money, you can give your home a more finished appearance by repairing and caulking its baseboards. Consider checking for cracks if you're selling your home since they can make your home look unfinished. This project will pay off whether you're planning to stay in your home for a while or are ready to sell and are looking to make improvements.
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.
Though the exact amount is subject to seasonal and regional variations, the average power bill is $118 a month. You can lower your power bill by making your home more energy-efficient. Our real estate agents know that homes with energy-efficient features are also more attractive to potential buyers. Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate the energy efficiency of your home so that you can take steps to improve it.
Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us to get started!
During your final walk-through, a million things will be racing through your mind, and you may find yourself distracted. But this is your last important task before you become a homeowner! Consider making a checklist before sealing the deal on the house you've chosen among Lake Charles homes for sale. You don't want to overlook anything.
Here are some of the important points to keep in mind during your walk-through.
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:
Have you been looking at beautiful New Orleans homes for sale and dreaming of calling one your own? Homeownership is a wonderful thing! However, if you're self-employed, you may find the mortgage approval process to be a maze.
Luckily, though, it's not impossible. In fact, our real estate agents work with self-employed buyers all the time! Here are a few of the smartest tips they've learned along the way.
Start Your Home Search Today!
Taking these simple steps will help you set yourself up for success when applying for a mortgage. Now that you know how to prepare, you're ready to start exploring some of the great homes for sale. We would love to show you around and help you find your dream home. Contact us today to get started!
For many individuals, their home is one of the most valuable assets they'll own during their lifetime. When it's time for you to retire, you may wonder how your home will impact your retirement. Our real estate agents know that some people choose to downsize their homes to properties that are easier to maintain, while others relocate to new locales. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for your retirement.
Need more assistance in buying or selling a home? Contact us today to get started!
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.
The average household does 8 to 10 loads of laundry every single week. Since your laundry room is such a high traffic area, it makes sense to upgrade the space to be more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Our real estate agents know that a charming laundry room is even attractive to potential homebuyers. Here are a few easy ways to upgrade your laundry room and make this space more appealing.
Ready to purchase a home with a large laundry room? Contact us today to get started!
Removing old carpet can be a time-consuming DIY project, especially for those who lack experience. But knowing how to effectively remove carpet can definitely come in handy. If you're looking to switch to hardwood floors or simply looking to save a few bucks on new carpet installation, removing old carpet by yourself can have some benefits. If you're doing it for the first time, our real estate agents have outlined the best way to go about the process:
While it can be time-consuming, DIY carpet removal isn't complicated. Switching to hardwood floors is a great way to make your home stand out among these Baton Rouge homes for sale. For more tips on DIY projects, contact us today.
Since the kitchen is known as the heart of the home, making sure it's organized is extra important. A cluttered kitchen not only makes preparing meals a hassle, but it can also turn away potential buyers.
Get rid of kitchen clutter by better organizing your space. Our real estate agents encourage you to use these tips to organize your kitchen.
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.
When the global pandemic first started, Christopher and Sarra were living in Ohio and had just given birth to their first newborn daughter. Offered a new career opportunity in New Orleans, they had to quickly find a house and move.
Because of COVID-19 and their new baby, they didn't feel comfortable traveling to New Orleans and touring multiple homes in person. Instead, they reached out to Latter & Blum Realtor, Stephanie Burkett, who is highly experienced in virtual showings and selling of homes due to her experience working with military clients.
After several virtual tours, Christopher and Sarra finally found a place to call home in New Orleans without ever touring it in person. The family's experience of finding a home essentially "sight unseen" is not an uncommon one, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Below are some tips for prospective home buyers that are considering buying a home virtually.
1. Learn how to read about a listing online
Before you reach out to an agent and start an online search for your home, watch out for these red flags as you click through pictures:
2. Pick the right real estate agent
Like Christopher and Sarra, choosing an agent that is experienced in helping families relocate is a major plus when shopping for a home virtually. After all, your agent will be your eyes and ears during the entire touring process. Agents that specialize in relocation may understand more of the challenges that come along with buying a home sight unseen, especially since there are a lot more unknown factors and hand-holding involved.
Pro Tip: Don't hesitate to ask your agent the following questions: Can you help schedule movers and get different moving options and quotes? Can your agent help set up services at the home or at least provide contact information for water, gas, garbage, electrical, etc.?
Looking for a qualified Realtor? Visit here to help you find the right agent for your needs.
3. Request an in-depth video tour
Before going on a virtual tour, have the floor plan of the space handy to help with determining how big a room is or how high the ceilings are. Ideally, your agent should start the tour while driving up to the house, in order to give you a better sense of the neighborhood and local amenities. If you're a parent, you may also want to request that the agent drive to the nearby schools to give a sense of how long it would take the kids to get to school each morning. From there, the agent should show you every part of the home from every possible angle.
Pro Tip: Ask as many questions as possible — particularly about the things you can't learn just from looking at a home. Is the neighbor's dog barking all day? Can you hear planes overhead? Is there a fire station nearby? Does the house have a certain odor?
Visit our website to start your virtual home search today!
Buying a house can be an exciting process, but it can also be nerve-racking! Before you start your home search, here are five things you should know that will help you make decisions that are the best for you, your peace of mind and your wallet.
1. Know how much house you can afford. One of the biggest roadblocks for prospective home buyers is not calculating beforehand what kind of home you can afford and coming up with enough money for a down payment. Use these calculators as a guide to calculate how much you can afford in a monthly mortgage payment.
2. Know your credit history. The better your credit history, the better the chances you'll have of securing the best financing rates and terms. A good score can help save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. See how to raise your credit score to get better loan terms.
3. Have a lender pre-approve you before house shopping. These days, houses can go off the market fast. In order to be ahead of the competition, you need to make sure you're prepared to make a strong offer and having a pre-approval in hand will position you as a serious buyer. "Buyers should feel comfortable with their budget before heading out the door with their Realtor to look at houses. Most of my buyers qualify for much more than they want to spend on monthly mortgage notes. I always have a lender walk my buyers through all of the costs of buying a home and together they will decide the purchase price range to fit the buyer's lifestyle!" - Penny Stettinius, Latter & Blum agent.
4. Make a checklist of your needs, must-haves and wants. Making a list of all your wants and needs is essential. Seeing many homes at once can be overwhelming and a checklist can serve as a guide to remind you what you're looking for. It also serves as a helpful reference for your Realtor. Not sure what you are looking for in a home? Download our Wants & Needs Worksheet. If you already know your wants and needs, tell one of our agents and start shopping today!
5. Choose a Realtor that best fits your needs. One thing most people don't realize is that you can meet with several Realtors to discuss your needs and see who is the best fit for you. An experienced agent can save you time and money by helping you find your dream home and negotiate with the seller on your behalf. "I tell my clients to hire a Realtor who is full-time and answers the phone when you call! Nothing is more important than being represented by an experienced agent who you can easily communicate with. I also tell my clients to look up Realtors online and read their customer reviews." - Cindy Bailey, Latter & Blum agent.
Ready to go house shopping? Buying a home is easy with Latter & Blum! Visit latter-blum.com for all the resources you'll need to help you find your dream home!
Our real estate agents know buying a house can consume a lot of energy. Expert advice helps, but when you get to closing day, you probably just want to relax. It's time to celebrate, but don't overlook the vital things you need to do now!
Whether you've been hunting for Lafayette homes for sale or houses elsewhere in Louisiana, the basics are the same. A few quick tasks help you get the most from your place.
Here are the most crucial things:
There are many stages of "moving." These simple tasks are easy to get done, but they'll help you make your house a home. To learn more about local real estate, contact us today.
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.
Moving to a new state amplifies the stress of a move significantly. Fortunately, you can reduce the stress of your upcoming move by making a list of things that you need to research. Here are a few things that you should add to your to-do list before making your big move:
Following established guidelines, Louisiana will begin Phase 1 of the opening plan on Friday, May 15th. Although this reopening is a bright beacon of hope, we must not forget that we are not fully free of the shadow of COVID-19. As we revive our sense of normalcy, our real estate agents want to assure you that we are collectively doing our part to safely serve our community as responsibly as possible.
FAQ About Louisiana Phase 1 Coronavirus Reopening
When will Louisiana reopen?
The state will enter Phase 1 of a three-phase reopening plan, as suggested by the federal government, on May 15th.
What businesses and services will be reopened in Phase 1?
Phase 1 of the reopening plan includes the opening of many services and businesses, such as barbershops/hair salons, bars that serve food, churches, funeral services, gyms and fitness centers, malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other non-essential businesses. However, many of these locations are only allowed to open if they follow strict guidelines dictating the number of individuals permitted to occupy the space and how employees, visitors, and customers must interact while following social distancing/PPE guidelines.
How long will Phase 1 last?
Currently, Louisiana is scheduled to operate under Phase 1 guidelines for 21 days, and into Phase 2 on June 15th. However, as we've seen over the last few months, the coronavirus situation can change quickly. While these dates are hopeful, they are not guaranteed and may be adjusted at any time.
How does this impact real estate services?
We want all of our associates and clients to know that Latter & Blum considers the safety and health of our community a number one priority. As essential personnel, our agents can continue to serve our community as safe, securely, and responsibly as possible. To do so, we have asked that all Latter & Blum agents follow these guidelines:
Although these guidelines are not forced upon the agents or buyers, many of our agents are voluntarily taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 out of respect to our friends, family members, and neighbors throughout the community.
If you are ready to purchase or sell property, we're ready to help. Contact us today to get started!
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!
It's no secret that packing all your belongings and moving them to a new home is always a little bit stressful. While most humans take this in stride, a move can wreak havoc on our furry friends. Luckily, there are ways you can help keep everyone calm and comfortable throughout the process.
2020 is nearly here, and there's no time like the present to start planning for your first home. Amazing Lafayette homes for sale are waiting!
There are lots of reasons people put off buying their first home. Our REALTORS® have the advice to give you a leg up in the new year.
These seven tips will clear the path to a home in 2020:
We've supported hundreds of first-time buyers throughout Lafayette, Acadiana, and the Gulf South. To get started, contact us.
We make it our duty to support and educate our clients. Our real estate agents are true experts helping people buy and sell homes!
One area that raises a lot of questions for buyers is closing costs. Closing costs consist of a variety of administrative fees involved in turning legal ownership of a home over from one person to another. Most of the professionals whose work supports the transaction, such as attorneys and tax experts, are paid from this amount.
Other matters are settled by your closing costs, too: For example, insurance payments.
Closing costs can add anywhere from 2% to 5% to the total cost of your transaction. Many buyers seek to shift the costs to the seller or add them to the mortgage package. That requires savvy negotiating and clarity on your goals. No matter how you approach them, some closing costs are unavoidable.
Below are the categories of closing costs you'll find in all transactions:
In general, the more cash you can bring to a transaction, the less you'll ultimately pay in closing costs. In addition to discount points, it's possible to get exemptions from some prepaid costs if you make a down payment, usually 20%.
You should discuss your financing and negotiation options with your real estate agent. Your agent can maximize your leverage in reducing certain costs or shifting them to the other party in the transaction. By comparing several different lenders, you're more likely to get the best deal.
Contact us today to find out more. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Your offer on a house just got accepted! Before you know it, you will be moving in! As a first-time homebuyer, you are probably anxious to start making changes and decorating your new home! Customizing your home is great, but it is easy to let your excitement and eagerness get the best of you and could leave you potentially underprepared. That's why our REALTORS® are here to help!
Let's talk about tools. Specifically, which tools you're going to need after purchasing your first home. All of the "to-do's" on your list, whether they involve maintenance, repairs, installations, or decorating, can only be completed with the help of certain essential resources. Here are eight tools we believe every first-time homebuyer needs:
Ready to pick out a fixer-upper and transform a Lafayette house into your dream home? Contact us today!
Buying a home is a huge decision. Selling a home is an equally important endeavor. Buying a home and selling a home at the same time? Now that's an impressive feat! It may sound overwhelming, but believe our REALTORS® when they say you can buy a new home while selling your current home. We've gathered our years of knowledge and experience with Lafayette homes for sale to help you buy a house while selling your existing home.
Are you interested in selling your current home and purchasing one of the fabulous Lafayette homes for sale at the same time? Contact us today, and we'll help you accomplish all of your real estate goals!
Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. And if you're one of the 44 million Americans still trying to pay off their student loans, you've probably wondered how it will affect your ability to own your own home.
Buying a house – especially if it's your first house – is stressful enough without having to worry about whether your student loan debt will squash your dreams of homeownership. Our REALTORS® are here to help, and to let you know that yes, it is still possible to become a homeowner if you have outstanding student loans.
If you're trying to buy a home with student loan debt, we're here to help. Contact us today to learn more about your options. We've helped countless families find Lafayette homes for sale that match their needs and budget. We can get you on the right track on your road to homeownership.
Buying a home seems like a process with an endless number of steps. But if you've made it far enough for your final walk-through, then congratulations are in order. You're really in the home stretch now, and our REALTORS® are here to make sure that your final walk-through is a success. Here's what you need to know:
Have Your REALTOR® With You
The main purpose of a final walk-through is to make sure that the house is in the condition you agreed to buy it in, and it's always best to have your REALTOR® with you. Doing your final walk-through alongside a professional will make this crucial step much easier, bringing an added understanding of the home buying process and a seasoned eye for detail.
Bring the Essentials
Don't arrive at your final walk-through empty-handed! Make sure you have all these essential items so you can ensure that your future home is in good shape:
You have a lot of items to check as you perform your final walk-through, so leave no stone unturned. This is one of the reasons it's great to have your REALTOR® with you – they can help keep you on track and make sure everything gets checked. Be sure to include these important items on your final walk-through checklist:
Contact us today to learn more about the final steps you need to take before your dream home becomes your own! From finding the perfect Lafayette home for sale to your final walk-through, our team is with you every step of the way.
Our REALTORS® spend much of their time showing prospective buyers new home developments around Lafayette. One of the first decisions many buyers make is whether to pursue new construction or move-in ready Lafayette homes for sale.
There are pros and cons to each approach, but no wrong way to go. Your decision will depend in large part on your goals and the lifestyle you plan to lead here in Louisiana. Either way, a local real estate expert is an essential ally in finding the right home with the best price and timeline.
Here are the four significant differences between new construction and move-in ready:
When you get started buying a home, the options can seem limitless. Narrowing them down is the first step in deciding on an approach that will satisfy your needs best. A real estate agent with deep insight into the local market can get you started on the right foot.
Contact us today to learn more.