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Kevin's Corner: Real Estate Matters



It's Time To Prepare Your House for a Spring Listing




If you're thinking of selling your house this spring, now is the perfect time to start getting it ready. With the market gearing up for its busiest time of year, it'll be important to make sure your house shines bright among the competition.

Here are some valuable tips you can use to get your house market-ready.

Declutter and Organize

First impressions matter, and if your house is a mess, that can easily turn off potential buyers. Before listing, take the time to declutter and organize each room. Decluttering is about more than just tidying up – it's about creating a sense of space and openness that allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in your home. According to Moving.com:

"Decluttering and organizing your space will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers. . . .decluttering will help the buyers see themselves living in your home. Less clutter inside a home also helps a place appear larger and cleaner, which should attract more buyers."

Deep Clean Your Kitchen and Bathrooms

The kitchen and bathrooms are focal points for many buyers, and often influence their overall opinion of the house. Ensure these spaces dazzle by giving them a thorough deep cleaning. Pay attention to details like scrubbing grout lines, polishing fixtures, and decluttering countertops. A sparkling kitchen and bathroom can leave a lasting positive impression on potential buyers.

Maintain Your Yard

Your home's exterior is the first thing potential buyers see, so it's important to make a good impression from the moment they arrive. A well-maintained yard not only enhances curb appeal, but also shows buyers the home has been well taken care of.

Take the time to spruce up your yard by mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and clearing away any debris or dead plants. Remember, the goal is to create a welcoming environment that entices buyers to step inside and imagine themselves living there. U.S. News says:

"A beautifully landscaped front yard can elevate an ordinary house into a charming home and will help homes sell faster and for more money."

Find a Listing Agent

A skilled listing agent is your partner in minimizing stress when selling your home. Lean on your agent for advice on decluttering, staging, and enhancing your home's appeal to potential buyers. Their insights into market trends and recommendations for reliable contractors and stagers are invaluable. As Realtor.com says:

"A good listing agent will help you price your home . . . recommend a photographer and stager to make it look its best, and put your home on the multiple listing service."

Bottom Line

By decluttering, deep cleaning, and tidying up your house, you can create a welcoming environment that resonates with buyers and increases your chances of a successful sale. Let's connect on what you need to do to get your house ready to sell this spring.

Don't Let the Latest Home Price Headlines Confuse You




Based on what you're hearing in the news about home prices, you may be worried they're falling. But here's the thing. The headlines aren't giving you the full picture.

If you look at the national data for 2023, home prices actually showed positive growth for the year. While this varies by market, and while there were some months with slight declines nationally, those were the exception, not the rule.

The overarching story is that prices went up last year, not down. Let's dive into the data to set the record straight. 

2023 Was the Return to More Normal Home Price Growth

If anything, last year marked a return to more normal home price appreciation. To prove it, here's what usually happens in residential real estate.

In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that take place each year. It's called seasonality. It goes like this. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is usually still strong in the summer, but begins to wane toward the end of the year. Home prices follow along with this seasonality because prices grow the most when there's high demand.

The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show how this pattern played out in home prices from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):

 


As the data shows, for nearly 50 years, home prices match typical market seasonality. At the beginning of the year, home prices grow more moderately. That's because the market is less active as fewer people move in January and February. Then, as the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up. That means home prices do too. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again and prices grow, just at a slower rate.

Now, let's layer the data that's come out for 2023 so far (shown in green) on top of that long-term trend (still shown in blue). That way, it's easy to see how 2023 compares.


As the graph shows, moving through the year in 2023, the level of appreciation fell more in line with the long-term trend for what usually happens in the housing market. You can see that in how close the green bars come to matching the blue bars in the later part of the year.

But the headlines only really focused on the two bars outlined in red. Here's the context you may not have gotten that can really put those two bars into perspective. The long-term trend shows it's normal for home prices to moderate in the fall and winter. That's typical seasonality.

And since the 49-year average is so close to zero during those months (0.10%), that also means it's not unusual for home prices to drop ever so slightly during those times. But those are just blips on the radar. If you look at the year as a whole, home prices still rose overall.

What You Really Need To Know

Headlines are going to call attention to the small month-to-month dips instead of the bigger year-long picture. And that can be a bit misleading because it's only focused on one part of the whole story.

Instead, remember last year we saw the return of seasonality in the housing market – and that's a good thing after home prices skyrocketed unsustainably during the 'unicorn' years of the pandemic.

And just in case you're still worried home prices will fall, don't be. The expectation for this year is that prices will continue to appreciate as buyers re-enter the market due to mortgage rates trending down compared to last year. As buyer demand goes up and more people move at the same time the supply of homes for sale is still low, the upward pressure on prices will continue.

Bottom Line

Don't let home price headlines confuse you. The data shows that, as a whole, home prices rose in 2023. If you have questions about what you're hearing in the news or about what's happening with home prices in our local area, let's connect.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

© Copyright 2024 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

What's Really Happening with Mortgage Rates?




Are you feeling a bit unsure about what's really happening with mortgage rates? That might be because you've heard someone say they're coming down. But then you read somewhere else that they're up again. And that may leave you scratching your head and wondering what's true.

The simplest answer is: that what you read or hear will vary based on the time frame they're looking at. Here's some information that can help clear up the confusion.

Mortgage Rates Are Volatile by Nature

Mortgage rates don't move in a straight line. There are too many factors at play for that to happen. Instead, rates bounce around because they're impacted by things like economic conditions, decisions from the Federal Reserve, and so much more. That means they might be up one day and down the next depending on what's going on in the economy and the world as a whole.

Take a look at the graph below. It uses data from Mortgage News Daily to show the ebbs and flows in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate since last October:

 


If you look at the graph, you'll see a lot of peaks and valleys – some bigger than others. And when you use data like this to explain what's happening, the story can be different based on which two points in the graph you're comparing.

For example, if you're only looking at the beginning of this month through now, you may think mortgage rates are on the way back up. But, if you look at the latest data point and compare it to the peak in October, rates have trended down. So, what's the right way to look at it?

The Big Picture

Mortgage rates are always going to bounce around. It's just how they work. So, you shouldn't focus too much on the small, daily changes. Instead, to really understand the overall trend, zoom out and look at the big picture.

When you look at the highest point (October) compared to where rates are now, you can see they've come down compared to last year. And if you're looking to buy a home, this is big news. Don't let the little blips distract you. The experts agree, overall, that the larger downward trend could continue this year

Bottom Line

Let's connect if you have any questions about what you're reading or hearing about the housing market.

Winning Plays for Buying a Home in Today's Market




Some Highlights

 

Home Equity Can Be a Game Changer When You Sell




Are you on the fence about selling your house? While affordability is improving this year, it’s still tight. And that may be on your mind. But understanding your home equity could be the key to making your decision easier. An article from Bankrate explains:

Home equity is the difference between your home's value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage. It represents the paid-off portion of your home.
You'll start off with a certain level of equity when you make your down payment to buy the home, then continue to build equity as you pay down your mortgage. You'll also build equity over time as your home's value increases.”

Think of equity as a simple math equation. It's the value of your home now minus what you owe on your mortgage. And guess what? Recently, your equity has probably grown more than you think.

In the past few years, home prices skyrocketed, which means your home's value – and your equity – likely shot up, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize.

How To Make the Most of Your Home Equity Right Now

If you're thinking about moving, the equity you have in your home could be a big help. According to CoreLogic:

“. . . the average U.S. homeowner with a mortgage still has more than $300,000 in equity . . .”

Clearly, homeowners have a lot of equity right now. And the latest data from the Census and ATTOM shows over two-thirds of homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):

 


That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

After you sell your house, you can use your equity to help you buy your next home. Here’s how:

  • Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage ratesInvestopedia states:
“You may want to pay cash for your home if you're shopping in a competitive housing market, or if you'd like to save money on mortgage interest. It could help you close a deal and beat out other buyers.
  • Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much money. The Mortgage Reports explains:
Borrowers who put down more money typically receive better interest rates from lenders. This is due to the fact that a larger down payment lowers the lender’s risk because the borrower has more equity in the home from the beginning.”

The Easy Way To Find Out How Much Equity You Have

To find out how much equity you have in your home, ask a real estate agent you trust for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR). 

Bottom Line

Planning a move? Your home equity can really help you out. Let’s connect to see how much equity you have and how it can help with your next home.

 

Why Pre-Approval Is Even More Important This Year




On the road to becoming a homeowner? If so, you may have heard the term pre-approval get tossed around. Let’s break down what it is and why it’s important if you’re looking to buy a home in 2024.

What Pre-Approval Is

As part of the homebuying process, your lender will look at your finances to figure out what they’re willing to loan you. According to Investopedia, this includes things like your W-2, tax returns, credit score, bank statements, and more.

From there, they’ll give you a pre-approval letter to help you understand how much money you can borrow. Freddie Mac explains it like this:

A pre-approval is an indication from your lender that they are willing to lend you a certain amount of money to buy your future home. . . . Keep in mind that the loan amount in the pre-approval letter is the lender’s maximum offer. Ultimately, you should only borrow an amount you are comfortable repaying.”

Now, that last piece is especially important. While home affordability is getting better, it’s still tight. So, getting a good idea of what you can borrow can help you really wrap your head around the financial side of things. It doesn’t mean you should borrow the full amount. It just tells you what you can borrow from that lender.

This sets you up to make an informed decision about your numbers. That way you’re able to tailor your home search to what you’re actually comfortable with budget-wise and can act fast when you find a home you love.

Why Pre-Approval Is So Important in 2024

If you want to buy a home this year, there’s another reason you’re going to want to be sure you’re working with a trusted lender to make this a priority.

While more homes are being listed for sale, the overall number of available homes is still below the norm. At the same time, the recent downward trend in mortgage rates compared to last year is bringing more buyers back into the market. That imbalance of more demand than supply creates a bit of a tug-of-war for you.

It means you’ll likely find you have more competition from other buyers as more and more people who were sitting on the sidelines when mortgage rates were higher decide to jump back in. But pre-approval can help with that too.

Pre-approval shows sellers you mean business because you’ve already undergone a credit and financial check. As Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, says:

“Preapproval carries more weight because it means lenders have actually done more than a cursory review of your credit and your finances, but have instead reviewed your pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements. A preapproval means you’ve cleared the hurdles necessary to be approved for a mortgage up to a certain dollar amount.”

Sellers love that because that makes it more likely the sale will move forward without unexpected delays or issues. And if you may be competing with another buyer to land your dream home, why wouldn’t you do this to help stack the deck in your favor?

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to buy a home in 2024, know that getting pre-approved is going to be a key piece of the puzzle. With lower mortgage rates bringing more buyers back into the market, this can help you make a strong offer that stands out from the crowd.


Real Estate Advisor January 2024.

Common Real Estate Disclosures

Real estate disclosures in the United States are documents provided by sellers to potential buyers, revealing information about the property's condition, history, and any other known issues. These disclosures are intended to help buyers make informed decisions about whether to proceed with a purchase. While the specific requirements vary by state, there are many disclosures that are common across the country.

Below are some of the most common real estate disclosures in the U.S.:

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

For homes built before 1978, federal law requires sellers to disclose information about lead-based paint hazards. Buyers typically receive a lead-based paint disclosure form, and sellers must provide information on any known lead-based paint or hazards.

A window leaking water onto wood floor.

Seller's Property Disclosure (SPD)

Many states require sellers to complete a disclosure form that covers various aspects of the property, such as its condition, history of repairs or improvements, and any known issues. This form may include details about the roof, plumbing, electrical systems, appliances, and more.

Natural Hazards Disclosure

In areas prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or wildfires, sellers may be required to disclose information about these hazards. This helps buyers understand potential risks associated with the property.

Homeowners Association (HOA) Disclosures

If the property is part of a homeowners association, sellers typically provide information about the association's rules, fees, and any ongoing legal issues. Buyers can review these documents to understand the obligations and restrictions associated with the property.

A male inspector examining possible mold on the wall of a residential home.

Mold Disclosure

In some states, sellers are required to disclose information about mold if they are aware of its presence in the property. This disclosure aims to inform buyers about potential health risks associated with mold.

Radon Gas Disclosure

Some states require sellers to disclose information about radon gas levels in the property. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can pose health risks, and testing may be recommended during the home inspection process.

Termite and Pest Inspection Reports

If the property has had termite or pest inspections, sellers may provide reports detailing any findings and treatments. This information helps buyers understand the property's history with pests and any ongoing prevention measures.

A FLOOD ZONE sign in a forested area.

Flood Zone Disclosure

Sellers may be required to disclose if the property is located in a designated flood zone. This information is crucial for buyers, as it can affect insurance requirements and potential risks.

Depending on where you live in the US, you may be subject to a 'caveat emptor' rule, meaning the buyer is responsible for learning more about the home and anything that may affect its quality. Known to many as 'buyer beware,' if you live in a caveat emptor state, you will need to do your due diligence and find out what disclosures are required.

What if Something Isn't Disclosed?

It's not unheard of to have a seller fail to disclose something to the buyer. If that happens, the buyer can generally cancel the sale and the seller possibly subject to a fee; for most of the US, if the sale goes through, the buyer can take legal action if they believe the seller failed to disclose known issues. For any buyers that may be wary, ensure contingencies are within the purchase and sale agreement that affords the buyer the ability to walk away from the sale without major fees.

Disclosures are important as they protect buyers by helping them understand as much as possible about the condition of the property they want to buy. As a buyer, do your due diligence when it comes to disclosures, and do not forgo an inspection. Disclosures vary state-by-state; consult your real estate agent to learn the local laws and guidelines when it comes to real estate disclosures.

It's a New Year! Are you thinking of buying or selling in 2024? My website has all active properties available today: CallKevinYoung.com. If a new home is on your agenda for 2024, don't hesitate to contact me with your questions, SOLD@CallKevinYoung.com. Happy New Year!


 
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Market Report for 70810, LA
Updated 02/06/2024

Here's a local update for 70810, LA. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the market, please feel free to reach out at any time.
HOMES FOR SALE   in last 30 days
260 Arrow pointing up 0.6%
30 day change
New to Market 60 homes Arrow pointing up 33.5%
Days on Market 125 days Arrow pointing up 2.5%
AVERAGE HOME PRICE   in last 30 days
$632,709   Arrow pointing down 0.5%
30 day change
price reductions 40 reductions Arrow pointing up 122.2%
price per square foot $246 -- 0%
Get full service sellers assistance from a local area expert.
Homes for Sale in 70810, LA

RECENTLY LISTED

House       
$315,000

545 Staring Ln

Baton Rouge , LA 70810

House       
$270,000

10711 Misty Hollow Ave

Baton Rouge , LA 70810

MOST EXPENSIVE

House       

$14,000,000

11001 Highland Rd

Baton Rouge , LA 70810

POPULAR LISTINGS

House       
$2,500,000

7121 Lanes End

Baton Rouge , LA 70810

House       
$14,000,000

11001 Highland Rd

Baton Rouge , LA 70810

Listing types included in this report: Single Family, Condos and Townhouses
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RE/MAX Professional
8556 Jefferson Hwy Ste A Baton Rouge, LA 70809
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KEVIN YOUNG
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Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Each Office Independently Owned & Operated
Licensed in the State of Louisiana by the LREC
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How Owning a Home Can Really Increase Your Wealth

If you're choosing between renting or buying a home this year, consider that homeownership can be a significant wealth-building tool. Let's connect so you can learn more about how buying a home can increase your net worth over time.

 

Market Report for 70810, LA
Updated 02/02/2024


Here's a local update for 70810, LA. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the market, please feel free to reach out at any time.
HOMES FOR SALE   in last 30 days
256 Arrow pointing down 0.6%
30 day change
New to Market52 homesArrow pointing up 21.5%
Days on Market127 daysArrow pointing up 3.5%
 
AVERAGE HOME PRICE   in last 30 days
$633,100   Arrow pointing down 0.3%
 
30 day change
price reductions42 reductionsArrow pointing up 110%
price per square foot$246-- 0%

Don't Wait Until Spring To Sell Your House




As you think about the year ahead, one of your big goals may be moving. But, how do you know when to make your move? While spring is usually the peak homebuying season, you don't actually need to wait until spring to sell. Here's why.

1. Take Advantage of Lower Mortgage Rates

Last October, the 30-year fixed mortgage rates peaked at 7.79%. In January, they hit their lowest level since May. That means you may not feel as locked-in to your current mortgage rate right now. That downward trend in rates has made moving more affordable now than it was just a few months ago.

Another reason today's rates make now a good time to sell? More buyers are jumping back into the market. Many had been waiting on the sidelines for rates to fall, but now that that's happening, they're eager and ready to buy. That means more demand for your house. According to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac:

"Given this stabilization in rates, potential homebuyers with affordability concerns have jumped off the fence back into the market."

2. Get Ahead of Your Competition

Right now, there are still more people looking to buy a home than there are houses for sale, which puts you in a great position. But keep in mind, with the recent uptick in new listings, we're seeing more sellers may already be re-entering the market.

Listing your house now helps you beat your competition and makes sure your house will stand out. And if you work with an agent to price it right, it could sell fast and get multiple offers. U.S. News explains:

"When there is low housing inventory, sellers could get top dollar for their homes."

3. Make the Most of Rising Home Prices

Experts forecast home prices will keep going up this year. What does that mean for you? If you're ready to sell your current house and plan to buy another one, it may be a good idea to think about moving now before prices go up more. That would give you the chance to buy your next home before it gets more expensive.

4. Leverage Your Equity

Homeowners today have tremendous amounts of equity. In fact, a recent report from CoreLogic says the average homeowner with a mortgage has more than $300,000 in equity.

If you've been waiting to sell because you were worried about home affordability, know your equity can really help with your next move. It might even cover a big part, or maybe all, of the down payment for your next home.

Bottom Line

If you're thinking about selling your house and moving to another one, let's connect to get the process started now so you can get a leg up on your competition.

3 Must-Do's When Selling Your House in 2024




If one of the goals on your list is selling your house and making a move this year, you're likely juggling a mix of excitement about what's ahead and feeling a little sentimental about your current home.

A great way to balance those emotions and make sure you're confident in your decision is to keep these three best practices in mind when you're ready to sell.

1. Price Your Home Right

The housing market shifted in 2023 as mortgage rates rose and home price appreciation started to normalize once again. As a seller, you still need to recognize how important it is to price your house appropriately based on where the market is today. Hannah Jones, Economic Research Analyst for Realtor.com, explains:

"Sellers need to become familiar with their local market and work closely with a local agent to make sure their listing is attractive to buyers. Buyers feeling the pressure of affordability are likely to be pickier, so a well-priced, well-maintained home is the ticket to drumming up big demand."

If you price your house too high, you run the risk of deterring buyers. And if you go too low, you're leaving money on the table. An experienced real estate agent can help determine what your ideal asking price should be, so your house moves quickly and for top dollar.

2. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Today, homeowners are staying in their houses longer than they used to. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), since 1985, the average time a homeowner has owned their home has increased from 6 to 10 years (see graph below):


This is much more than what used to be the norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it's the first home you bought or the house where your loved ones grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it's hard to detach from the sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that makes it even tougher to separate the emotional value of the house from fair market price. That's why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations and the best pricing strategy along the way. Trust the professionals who have your best interests in mind.

3. Stage Your Home Properly

While you may love your decor and how you've customized your house over the years, not all buyers will feel the same way about your vibe. That's why it's so important to make sure you focus on your home's first impression, so it appeals to as many buyers as possible.

Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the home. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. As Jessica Lautz, Deputy Chief Economist and Vice President of Research at NAR, says:

"Buyers want to easily envision themselves within a new home and home staging is a way to showcase the property in its best light."

A real estate professional can help you with expertise on getting your house ready to sell.

Bottom Line

If you're considering selling your house, let's connect so you have help navigating the process while prioritizing these must-do's. Just call Kevin Young @ 225.777.9878

Why It's More Affordable To Buy a Home This Year




Some Highlights

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, it becomes crucial to take measures to protect your home from the adverse effects of icy conditions. One of the primary concerns is frozen pipes, which can lead to costly damages. To prevent this, insulate your pipes and faucets, especially those in unheated areas like basements and attics. Additionally, consider letting faucets drip slightly to keep water flowing and prevent freezing. Ensure that your home's heating system is in optimal condition by scheduling a professional inspection, and don't forget to seal any gaps or cracks in windows and doors to keep cold drafts at bay. Investing in weatherstripping for doors and windows can significantly improve insulation and contribute to maintaining a warm and energy-efficient home during icy weather.

Beyond the internal aspects, it's crucial to pay attention to your home's exterior as well. Clearing gutters of debris helps prevent ice dams, which can cause water to seep into your home. Trim tree branches that could potentially fall onto your roof or power lines due to the weight of ice accumulation. Stock up on ice melt and sand for walkways and driveways to prevent slips and falls. Finally, consider investing in a good snow shovel or snow blower for efficient snow removal. By taking these proactive measures, you can safeguard your home against the challenges posed by icy conditions and ensure a secure and comfortable living environment throughout the winter season.



 Selling your home is a significant undertaking, and ensuring that it stands out in the competitive real estate market begins with thorough preparation. To maximize your property's appeal and attract potential buyers, the first step is decluttering. Start by removing personal items and excess furniture to create a clean, spacious environment that allows potential buyers to envision the space as their own. Consider a fresh coat of neutral paint to create a neutral canvas, making it easier for buyers to imagine adding their personal touch. By depersonalizing and decluttering, you're not only enhancing visual appeal but also giving your home a clean slate for its next chapter.

Next, focus on enhancing curb appeal. The exterior is the first thing potential buyers see, so make a lasting impression. Trim the lawn, plant vibrant flowers, and ensure that the entrance is inviting. Consider minor repairs, such as fixing a leaky faucet or a squeaky door. Investing in professional landscaping services or a power wash for the exterior can make a significant difference. A well-maintained exterior sets the tone for what potential buyers can expect inside and increases the chances of them wanting to explore further.

Finally, highlight the unique features of your home. Showcase any recent upgrades or renovations, such as a modernized kitchen or renovated bathrooms. Create a welcoming ambiance with strategically placed lighting and consider staging key areas to help buyers visualize the functionality of each space. Additionally, ensure that all necessary repairs are addressed to present a well-maintained property. By taking these steps to prep your home for listing, you're not only increasing its market value but also ensuring a positive and memorable impression on potential buyers, setting the stage for a successful sale.

Home sale prices in Baton Rouge as of 1/18/2024.




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