#REBCNO and #NARdiGras Here I Come! Wednesday, Nov 3 2010 

Got Flood Insurance? Tuesday, Jun 8 2010 

101 Open Houses in Ascension, Livingston and East Baton Rouge Parishes Friday, Apr 9 2010 

Thinking about taking advantage of the tax credit before it expires on April 30, 2010?

This Sunday, April 11, 2010  C.J. Brown Realtors is hosting 101 Open Houses.

Various homes in Ascension, East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes will be open from 2:00-5:00 pm. Check the Sunday Real Estate section of the Advocate  for the list of homes.

The weather is going to be beautiful!  This is a perfect opportunity for you to see what’s available in the various areas of town if you are thinking about taking the homeownership plunge. 

P.S.  I will be hosting an open at 41031 Villa Court South in Gonzales, LA.  Come by and see me!

Should I List My Home During The Holidays? Tuesday, Nov 24 2009 

I have recently had a few potential sellers ask me if they should list their home during the holidays.  My first response is “Why shouldn’t you?”  Here are five reasons that I believe the holidays are a great time to list your home.

  1. Families like to take advantage of their children’s semester break to make a move.
  2. The buyers that are out looking are serious about making a move.  These are different buyers than the “looky loos” we get in the springtime.
  3. The tax credit has been extended for first time home-buyers and expanded to include “long time residents”.  This means more motivation to actually make a decision.
  4. Lots of people new to the area will be driving around while they are visiting loved ones.  Your home may be perfect for your neighbor’s Cousin Sally!
  5. Honestly, when is your home more beautiful that when it is decorated for the holidays?

I know that schedules are hectic during this time.  That is the number one objection I receive when speaking with a prospective seller.  If you will be out of town a lot.  This actually makes the showing process a lot easier.  You won’t be bothered with having to leave for showings.  If you will be home and have company staying with you, we will do our best to accommodate both you and the prospective buyer.

What about those holiday decorations?  Make your home beautiful!  Keep in mind that you want the prospective buyers to see your home, not your stuff.  You want your home to feel roomy so be careful not to over-do the decorations. We can help you to decide how much is too much.

Typically, there is a smaller inventory during the holidays.  Take advantage of this and have your beautiful home sparkle on the top of a buyers list!

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Has Been Extended and Expanded! Friday, Nov 6 2009 

The first time home buyer’s tax credit that was scheduled to expire on 12/01/2009 has been extended until April 30, 2010.  The income limits for this have also been increased!$8,000 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

Here are the specifics:

  • Purchasers must be first time home buyers.  This means that you must not have owned a home in the past three years.
  • The credit is for 10% of the purchase price up to $8,000
  • Adjusted Gross Income limits are now $125,000 for single filers and $225,000 for joint filers
  • Purchasers must have a contract signed by April 30, 2010 and will have until June 30, 2010 to close
  • The credit is only available for the purchase of principal residences priced up to $800,000 or less

There is also a new tax credit for “long time resident” homeowners!

Here are those specifics:

  • Purchasers must have lived in their primary residence for five consecutive years in the past eight years
  • Tax credit for existing “long time resident” homeowners will be 10% of purchase price up to $6,500
  • Stipulations for dates, Adjusted Gross Income limits and purchase price remain the same as for First Time Home buyers

This is good news. Many people will now be able to purchase their first home or possibly move up to a bigger home.  The move up part of this is crucial to the continued growth real estate market .

Please note:  I am NOT a tax professional!  These are the rules and regulations as I understand them as a Real Estate Professional.  If you have any questions or unique situations, please contact your tax professional.  If you do not have one, I will be glad to give you some recommendations.

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension – Update Friday, Oct 30 2009 

There is a lot of mis-information being posted and talked about. 

The extension for the first time homebuyer tax credit has NOT yet been passed.  The Senate is not expected to vote on this until next week sometime at the earliest.  It is my understanding that after the vote passes the Senate, it will go to the House of Representatives for their vote.  From there, it will go to the President for his signature. 

Here is the proposal as it stands today:  The $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers will be extended until April 30, 2010.  Income limits for this tax credit will also be raised.  They are also wanting to add benefits of $6,500 for homeowners wanting to sell that have been in their homes for at least 5 years.  They have also added that this extension is final… it will not be extended again.

Remember all of this is still a dream….nothing has been voted on as of yet.

To read more about the bill click here.

I am monitoring this and will report changes to you as they happen.  If you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

I’ve been “Quoted”! Tuesday, Sep 15 2009 

Last week  I was contacted by a local newspaper writer.  He asked me if he could quote me on some of the things I had written on my blog.  They were going to run an article about the local housing market.  I thought for a minute…hmmm…Well YEA

Seems that this individual follows my blog through my Facebook Fan page Jambalaya Wire.

Today, while sitting in front of my computer I see Weekly Citizen stream through on Facebook.  I look a little closer and the link was about Ascension Parish Housing.  I click the link and find the article where I have been quoted!

Now, to me this is a big deal.  I have never been quoted before by any news agency.  The only quoting I get is usually from my children and they are usually quoting something that really should not have ever left the house 🙂

I have to say, in my humble opinion, the article is very well written and I am very pleased.  So tonight, I am basking in my 15 minutes of fame if you will.  Would you like to see what the excitement is all about?

http://www.weeklycitizen.com/news/x1021282881/Ascension-housing-market-shows-promise

ps. I did go to the nearest store a buy a few copies!  One for my broker and one to autograph for my husband 🙂

What is a Home Warranty? Tuesday, May 19 2009 

A home warranty is a service contract that covers the things that may need replacement/repair in your home’s systems/appliances.  These things will typcailly fall under the categories of mechanical, electrical or plumbing. 

A home warranty is a negotiation item when you are writing your purchase agreement.  Many homeowners offer a warranty as an enticement to purchase their home. Home warranties do range in cost.  There are basic warranties and there are warranties that offer extra coverages for things like removal of defective equipment, permits, etc.  This is very helpful to have if you have to have some A/C work done. 

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How do they work?  If you have an electrical, mechanical, plumbing issue with one of your home’s systems, you will give the warranty company a call.  They will give you the name and number of an approved contractor.  Contact that contractor and they will come out to assess the problem.  You will pay the service fee that is associated with the warranty you have in place.

Do I recommend a home warranty?  YES!  When we bought our home, it was only 3 years old.  We asked the seller to provide a home warranty in which they did.  Two days after moving in, my A/C went out.  This is in June in South Louisiana.  It was HOT!  I called the warranty company, they put me in contact with an approved contractor.  The A/C guy came out and fixed the problem.  I paid him my service fee and we all slept in cool air.  Have you priced an A/C guy lately?  You can’t get a guy to come  out and ring your doorbell for the price of the service fee! 

As an agent in Ascension Parish, I get cards from our warranty company whenever they do work on a home that I have placed a warranty on.  On my desk right now, I see that they have saved homeowners, $733.80, $155.60, $330.65.  These are just the recent repairs that have been made.

Would you like to know more about a Home Warranty?  American Home Shield, the founder of the home warranty,  is the warranty we use here at C. J. Brown/Latter & Blum.  Feel free to take a look at their website.

Understanding Overpricing Sunday, May 17 2009 

Overpricing: It’s one of the number one reasons that properties don’t sell in a timely manner.  Why do so many sellers do themselves a disservice of overpricing their homes?  Here are a few of the most common reasons:

  • Personal Goals:  For some it’s about selling their home for more than the neighbor did last month. For others, it’s refusal to accept that their home isn’t worth as much as they would like it to be or that it is worth less than what they paid for it.
  • Financial needs: Some sellers will put their home on the market for a price higher than what the comparables in the area are so they can afford to move into a bigger  home, pay off some bills, have a little extra in savings, etc.
  • Lack of professional guidance:  Some sellers do not have all the data they need to price their home.  The guy next door sold for $200,000.  What they don’t understand is that the guy next door has 300 sq feet more living area, he is totally updated, etc.  Sometimes, family and friends can influence a sellers decision on where to price. 
  • Testing the market:  Sellers will  put their home on the market for unrealistic values to see if someone will bite. If they do, then great, if not, well, no harm done, the seller doesn’t have to move. 

If a seller does indeed get lucky enough to get a purchaser into contract, be aware, the home still has to appraise.  If the appraisal doesn’t meet the contract price, the purchaser’s lender will not lend the monies to them.  Renegotiation happens at this point.  A seller may also be helping to sell his neighbor’s home.  If the neighbor is priced right, chances are that the overpriced home won’t even get looked at.

Take all these things into consideration when pricing your home.    As a real estate professional, I want you to get the most you can from your home, I want you to be happy.  Ask for copies of what your agent has used for comparables.  Discuss these numbers with your agent.  In some cases, they will be willing to “push the envelope” a little bit, but not so much that they price you out of competition.  Remember, we are all working for the same cause…Getting your home SOLD!

2009 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Friday, May 15 2009 

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By now I am sure you have heard of the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit that Congress has approved in an effort to stimulate the housing market.  If not, here is a recap of what the Tax Credit is all about.

  • You must purchase your home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009
  • You and/or your spouse must not have owned a home in the past three years
  • The tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price up to $8,000
  • There is an income limit.  Single purchasers have a yearly income limit of $75,000; married purchasers have an income limit of $150,000
  • There are decreased credits available for single purchasers with a yearly income of $75,000-$95,000 and married purchasers with a yearly income of $150,000-$170,000. The closer you get to the maximum income, the smaller the credit
  • You must reside in the home for at least three years to prevent having to pay the monies back
  • First Time Homebuyer Credits may be applied to purchases of primary residences: single family, townhome, condo.
  • HUD is working on allowing the credit to be used as part of your downpayment!  I will keep you posted on this awesome news!

 

Purchasers are able to ammend their 2008 tax returns after the closing of their home to receive the credit this year.

I have purchasers that have done this and have received their credit in as little as two weeks! 

If you have been thinking of purchasing a home, now is the time to make your dream come true!

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