Sign up to get new listings emailed daily! JOIN SIGN IN
Stephanie Villani
REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRS
Facebook Icon LinkedIn Icon Instagram Icon 

Articles Tagged "Madisonville"

Stephanie Villani Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Community Guides | 50 Posts
Home Tips | 6 Posts
August
2

Explore These Lakes Near New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans is famously identified with the Mississippi River, but that's not the only notable body of water found around the Big Easy. Our real estate agents love making convenient getaways to enjoy these incredible lakes near NOLA. 

  • Lake Pontchartrain
    Any discussion of lakes around New Orleans homes for sale has to begin with Lake Pontchartrain. Technically, the largest inland body of water in Louisiana is an estuary, which is a mix of freshwater from rivers and saltwater from the ocean. By any definition, Pontchartrain is a prime location for a multitude of activities, from fishing and boating to walking and sightseeing. Crossing the 23-mile Causeway Bridge is an hour-long scenic trip on its own. Visit the New Canal Lighthouse on Lakeshore Drive to learn more about the past, present, and future of Lake Pontchartrain. 

  • Lake Borgne 
    Coastal erosion has turned Lake Borgne into a lagoon of the Gulf of Mexico. Lake Borgne is also the mouth of the Rigolets, which is the strait that connects the Gulf to Lake Pontchartrain. While the larger body of water grabs more of the spotlight, anglers recognize Lake Borgne as a plentiful source of trout, redfish, and catfish. The lake's signature attraction is Fort Proctor, also known as Beauregard's Castle, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1850s to protect local water routes, the fort is now completely surrounded by water and accessible only by a 20-minute kayak or canoe ride. 

  • Lac Des Allemands 
    Lac Des Allemands is named for the German settlers who came to the area in the early 18th century. In 1978, the lake gained national attention thanks to an article in the New York Times about its status as "Catfish Capital of the Universe." According to locals, "little red worms" at the bottom of the lake provide the nourishment that makes the catfish so special. Above ground, Lac Des Allemands is surrounded by cypress tree-lined bayous that are home to great blue herons, alligators, bald eagles, and other wildlife. Swamp boat tours are a popular way to explore the 12,000-acre lake.

  • Lake Martin
    Thanks to its location in Cypress Island Nature Preserve, Lake Martin is one of the best places to view the amazing range of plants and wildlife that are native to the state. In particular, Lake Martin is the site of one of the state's largest colonies of water birds, including great blue herons, snowy egrets, and white ibis. While they're best viewed from a distance, the lake also features a large alligator population. Whether you stroll along the boardwalk or venture out in a canoe or kayak, you're bound to have an incredible experience.

  • Lake Maurepas 
    It may be difficult to think of 15,000 acres as "small," but Lake Maurepas is often referred to as the "little sister" of Lake Pontchartrain. Visitors appreciate the unspoiled beauty around the lake, which makes it a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stop in for lunch at nearby Middendorf's Restaurant and try their signature thin-fried Maurepas catfish as you relax on the outdoor deck overlooking the lake.

New Orleans open houses are a great way to find your forever home. Contact us at Latter & Blum for up-to-the-minute information on the latest listings.

March
17

DIY Projects That Increase Your Home's Value

DIY Projects for Home Value Increase

Renovations and keeping your home up-to-date can increase your home's value, not to mention it's a lot more fun to live in an updated house and enjoy those renovations while you live there. But not everyone has money to throw into a renovation, especially if you're planning on moving out afterward. Fortunately, there are many low-budget DIY projects you can do to increase your home's value. Here are a few easy upgrades our real estate agents recommend to get you started.

  1. Add light.
    A well-lit home shows better than a poorly lit home. Updating your light fixtures is a fairly easy upgrade you can do on your home with just a few tools and a little basic electrical know-how. Replace those vintage light fixtures with better, brighter ones. You might also look into updating your light switches to smart switches or installing dimmers to allow more control over lighting options. And while we're on the subject of lighting, if you're going to be listing your home for sale, be sure to clean the windows, both inside and out!

  2. Give your kitchen cabinets a face-up.
    Our agents have noticed that Baton Rouge homes for sale with updated kitchens are quick to get a buyer's attention! Not everyone has the money for a kitchen renovation, but you can freshen your kitchen's look with some paint, new matching hardware, and a weekend of your time. If you are selling the home, make sure to choose a fairly neutral color scheme. A new set of modern, matching hardware will put the finishing touches on your kitchen's new look. For extra style points, look into updating your sink and faucet, too.

  3. Refresh your bathroom.
    Just like kitchens, updated bathrooms can make a huge difference to a buyer. Repainting your cabinets and replacing the cabinet hardware is a good place to start. Bathrooms are just as likely as kitchens to have outdated plumbing fixtures, so consider replacing them with something more attractive and modern. If your bathroom's mirror and lighting aren't good, look into replacements for these as well. These are all fairly affordable projects that are easy to do yourself and can give your bathroom a brand-new look without the expense of a full renovation.

  4. Maximize your closet space.
    Storage space is another concern for you if you continue living in the house and for any potential buyers when you sell. Older homes tend to have fairly basic closets, but that single bar and shelf may be hiding a lot of wasted storage space. Look into a DIY closet shelving with adjustable shelving and other options to help you make the most of your storage space. If you're planning on selling the home, make sure you also declutter and put stuff into storage for staging, as a closet that's only partially full looks much bigger than one that's jam-packed!

  5. Boost curb appeal.
    Finally, don't forget the importance of first impressions. There are several easy DIY you can do that will dramatically improve your home's curb appeal, which is especially important if you're going to sell. Consider giving your door, the trim around it, and the porch a fresh coat of paint. Decorate that area around the door with planters. A little time spent on the landscaping wouldn't go amiss, either, particularly the part of the yard visible from the street.

Making a few choice updates can make a surprising difference in your home's value. Contact us today, and one of our agents will help you decide what DIY projects to focus on.

February
24

How to Keep Your Pet Safe During Renovations

Renovation Tips with PetsChange is frustrating for everyone, and our pets are no exception. The turmoil of construction can be terrifying to them when they just can't understand what's happening! Since our real estate agents may recommend some renovations that will increase the value of your home, we want to provide you with some tips to make your animals more comfortable with the process. 

  1. Make Introductions
    While cats may be warier of strangers than dogs, both will benefit from brief interactions with workers who will be in and out of the house. Allow them to experience the scents and sounds of new people to help put them at ease. Your pet will see that you are not concerned by the visitors, which will help alleviate their stress. 

  2. Secure Your Pets
    Pets who are used to the comforts of a crate are rarely concerned when they are locked in briefly for their safety. This keeps them out of harm's way and still lets them see what's going on around them. If this isn't an option, consider putting them in a room with the door closed so that they are not underfoot of the workers. Cats tend to search for the safety of a confined space. A large cardboard box in the room might be just the sanctuary they are seeking. Be sure you leave them with plenty of water and food and check on them as often as possible.

  3. Keep Them Occupied
    Providing your pets with toys and treats will provide welcome distractions from unusual sights and sounds. Soothing music diminishes the intensity of loud noises they find upsetting. Treats help communicate the affection you hold for them, reassuring them that you have not abandoned them. Whether it be a large bone for your dog to gnaw or a catnip mouse for your feline friend, a treat can help them pass the time more comfortably.

  4. Take Them Outdoors
    They may be most comfortable in their own backyard. If this is an option, spend as much time as you can playing with them outside. Long walks or trips to the dog park are pleasant diversions that will remove them from the property for a time. 

  5. Hire a Pet Sitter
    Local pet sitters offer various services, from walking and drop-in visits to caring for your pet in your home and boarding them overnight. Many people avoid such options, assuming the cost is prohibitive, but with a little research, you will be pleasantly surprised. If your renovations are extensive and will last several days, this option may mean the best care for your pet with the least trauma. 

  6. Inform Everyone Concerned of the Plan
    Whatever you decide to do to keep your pet safe, share the information with everyone in the home. Take particular care to make sure that younger members of the family understand what you are doing and why. Otherwise, they may make decisions that can endanger their furry friends. If the animal is to be kept on the property, be sure to warn workers so that they do not inadvertently release your pets or leave dangerous items in their reach. 

If you are preparing your home for the market or buying a new one, contact us at Latter & Blum for expert assistance with Alexandria homes for sale

February
3

Using a VA Loan this Year? 2021 Changes to Know About

VA Loan Louisiana

If you're thinking about buying one of the beautiful Baton Rouge homes for sale, a VA loan is a great option! These loans come with excellent benefits. They offer flexible credit underwriting and low-interest rates. In addition, buyers using a VA loan won't have to come up with a down payment or carry mortgage insurance (PMI).

A portion of these loans is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). However, the loans are issued by mortgage lenders and banks. Our real estate agents regularly meet with lenders to learn more about any updates to loan programs and how they could impact their clients. 

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! 

January
20

Not a Green Thumb? These Indoor Plants Are For You!

Indoor Plant Tips

Whether you've just purchased one of the beautiful Baton Rouge homes for sale or you've lived in your current home for years, decorating with houseplants can go a long way towards making your space feel homey. Even if you don't have a green thumb, you can still keep beautiful plants in your home! 

The key is selecting plants that are hardy and easy to care for. Here are a few of the best starter plants. 

  1. Pathos 
    If you're looking for a virtually indestructible plant, the Pathos is it! While this plant will do best in front of a large window, it can also do just fine in lower-light environments. The Pathos will quickly grow long vines that reach outward, so it does well in a hanging pot. 
  2. Snake Plant
    The Snake Plant, also known as Mother-In-Law's Tongue, is another highly tolerant houseplant. This is a true low-light plant that doesn't require much water. Not only are these plants beautiful, but they're also known to purify the air, removing potentially dangerous toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.  
  3. Monstera
    If you want a plant that promises to make a real impression, you can't go wrong with a Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant. It can grow anywhere from 6.5 to almost 10 feet tall and produces leaves that can be up to 3 feet long. These hardy plants do best in medium to bright indirect light and only need to be watered when the soil is dry. 
  4. Cacti 
    A cactus is easy to care for by design. They're great at holding water, which means you rarely have to do anything with it. If you happen to notice the soil is dry, give it a drink. Other than that, there really isn't anything else to do. There are many different cacti varieties, which makes it easy to create interesting displays or place different kinds around your home. 
  5. Spider Plant 
    A beautiful and interesting hanging plant, the Spider plant is super easy to care for. All you need to do is keep it out of direct sunlight, water it when the soil is partially dry, and occasionally cut off any parts that turn brown or yellow. If you're lucky, your plant will reward you with babies, also called spiderettes, that hang from the mother plant. 
  6. ZZ Plant
    A very low-maintenance plant that does great in low-light conditions, the ZZ plant has become extremely popular in recent years. Traditional ZZ plants have green, wax-like leaves, while the new Raven ZZ darkens to a stunning black color when it matures. These plants don't like humidity and only need to be watered when the soil is completely dry, making the ZZ a perfect set-it-and-forget-it plant.
  7. Succulents
    Are you too busy to deal with plants? If so, a succulent is perfect for you! These plants are generally happiest when left alone, and some would even say they thrive on neglect. The easiest way to kill a succulent is to over-water it, so you're best off giving it a little drink once a month and then forgetting you have it. There are endless varieties of succulents to choose from. Just be careful — collecting these beautiful plants can become a bit addictive. 

Are you still looking for the perfect place to call home? Our real estate agents are here to help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and schedule an appointment. 

August
10

5 Benefits of Working With a REALTOR®

Working With REALTOR

Today's real estate industry presents you with many options when it comes to buying and selling Baton Rouge homes for sale. Our REALTORS® want your real estate transaction to be as swift, smooth, and successful as possible. Before you choose to hire a broker or simply conduct the property sale with only an escrow agent, we encourage you to discover the many ways that working with a REALTOR® can benefit you.

  1. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable.
    Just as you're an expert in your professional field, REALTORS® have extensive knowledge of your market thanks to years of experience. They understand the complex legalities involved with the process and know-how to complete transactions in the most ethical way possible. Most importantly, they know how to spot and avoid potential problems that may delay or outright nullify your transaction.

  2. Hiring a REALTOR® gives you access to a team of professionals.
    When you enlist the help of a REALTOR®, you're gaining the assistance of more than a single individual. Their network of professionals includes other REALTORS®, licensed contractors, professional staging companies, certified appraisers, honest inspectors, and other resources that will help you throughout the home sale.

  3. REALTORS® are motivated with your best interest in mind.
    Buying or selling property is a huge milestone, personally and financially. Rest assured that your REALTOR® recognizes how important these transactions are and will conduct this process with the utmost priority. They are dedicated to helping you succeed, putting your interests first to ensure that you are completely satisfied with the process and results. Your REALTOR® is your personal advocate for your home sale and will stand beside you through thick and thin until you've achieved your real estate goals on your terms.

  4. Your REALTOR® handles many frustrations for you.
    Selling or buying a home, while exciting, can be a stressful experience without expert assistance. What if an element of the home fails inspection or doesn't appraise as expected? What if a buyer doesn't secure a mortgage loan or if a seller tried to play hardball? Instead of juggling these stressful problems alone, your REALTOR® manages them for you. They've encountered a variety of problematic issues during their career and know the best ways that you can overcome them. More importantly, they have the foresight to prevent some obstacles from arising, such as adding contingencies to your contract to protect you if challenges arise.

  5. REALTORS® can save you money before, during, and after the real estate transaction.
    Too many property owners are focused on the sale itself and forget about the miscellaneous expenses in addition to the purchase price. Thankfully, your REALTORS® know how to save you money throughout the process, even after they've expertly negotiated to save you money. From remodeling tips and tricks to the best advice for local services in your new area, your REALTOR® is committed to helping you save every penny possible.

Are you considering buying or selling a home in Baton Rouge? We can help. Contact us today to learn more about the ways our REALTORS® can help you achieve your real estate goals.

Latter & Blum
430 Notre Dame St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(866) 794-1022
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/04/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/04/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Houston Association of Realtors (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 12:32:26 AM EST) or Fort Polk MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:06 PM EST) or Greater Southern MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:35:12 PM EST) or Greater Baton Rouge MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:40 PM EST) or GSREIN MLS (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:09:58 AM EST) or Bayou MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:20:45 PM EST) or Pearl River MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:24:17 PM EST) or GCLAR MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:12:09 PM EST) or MGCMLS (last updated Mon 10/04/2021 9:31:53 AM EST) or Realtor Association of Acadiana (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:22:29 PM EST) or Southwest Mississippi MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:15:23 PM EST) or MLS United (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:36:09 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Latter & Blum may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

Privacy Policy / DMCA Notice / ADA Accessibility

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


Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder