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Help! I Need a Home Near LSU!

Published: February 17, 2017

Filed Under: Market Trends

Looking for a home in the LSU area this Spring?  You’re gonna need some help.

Over the past couple of years the monthly supply of homes, a key indicator of the balance between supply and demand, has gradually gone down in the areas surrounding LSU. Since the August 2016 flood that trend has continued.  Those of us who live here know that since  August the traffic on Perkins, Highland, Acadian, Essen, and Bluebonnet has increased dramatically as our neighbors from other parts of the Parish have moved here.  We’re all having to give ourselves more time to get to wherever we need to go.  So it’s not surprising that in December there was just a 3.38 month supply of detached single family homes near LSU.  That’s a classic indicator of a seller’s market and it’s made finding a home near LSU a real challenge.

 

Monthly Supply of Detached Single Family Homes Near LSU

Is it temporary or permanent and what impact has all of this had on home sales and values? It looks like at least some of the people in those long lines of traffic have decided to stay in the area.  Low inventories mean that nice homes are not going to stay on the market very long if they’re priced right and in good condition.

Not surprisingly, we’re also seeing an increase in home values.  Since 2014, the average price of a detached single family home in the areas near LSU have increased from $310,261 to $341,217 … a 10.0% increase.  It’s hard to say what affect the flood has had on value but my daily experience helping clients buy and sell homes suggests that we’re looking at a sustained upward shift in the price of homes.  It’s just my opinion, but I don’t think it’s like Katrina when folks who moved here went back to New Orleans.  I think that flood victims who have decided to buy homes in area 5 … homes near LSU … are likely to stay.

Price History for Homes Near LSU

So, what do you do if you’re in the market for a home near LSU?  Work with a responsive and experienced agent who can:

1) Send you listings, directly from the MLS, as soon as they are entered into our systems,

2) Help you negotiate the deal.  You don’t want to be in a multiple offer situation without a pro by your side,

3) Help you identify the resources you need to successfully move the purchase through the contract to close process, e.g., lenders, home inspectors, contractors, title companies, insurance agents.

And don’t forget …

4)  Get yourself pre-qualified for a loan!  Know how much you can afford and be prepared to act quickly.  Most sellers will not consider an offer without a pre qualification letter or proof of funds for an all cash transaction.

If you’re thinking about buying a home this Spring call me at (225) 772-8709, email me at [email protected] and visit my website, http://www.HeleneKurtz.com.

 

Member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing

Published: October 28, 2015

Filed Under: Education, Luxury Home Marketing

Institute for Luxury Home Marketing MemberThis month I became a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Membership requires completion of extensive training in marketing luxury properties covering topics including lifestyle segmentation, trends and amenities in today’s luxury home market, and creating a marketing plan for homes in the upper-tier. In addition to the training, membership provides access to tools and resources for marketing luxury homes as well as opportunities for networking with luxury homes agents nationwide.

Completing the requirements for membership was one of the goals I set for myself this year. In order to provide my clients with the highest level of service possible, I believe it is important to continually refresh and upgrade the skills required for success in today’s real estate market. This was an outstanding program and I look forward to applying the principles learned when listing luxury homes and working with buyers looking for exceptional properties. Please let me know if you’re interested in Baton Rouge’s luxury real estate market or know someone who is.

Portfolio of Recent Listings

Published: January 13, 2014

Filed Under: Just Listed, Videos

One of the things prospective clients frequently ask is, “How do I know that you’ll do a good job?” I am happy to provide a list of former clients whose homes I’ve sold that are similar to yours with similar circumstances or similar price ranges. And then, of course, there is the work itself. I take a lot of pride in the work that I do and in the relationships I have with the people I serve.

This is a portfolio of some of the homes I’ve recently listed and sold in the Baton Rouge area. Each one is special to me as are their owners.

Recent Listings from Helene Kurtz

How your home is presented to the public is a critical part of getting it sold. No matter the size or price of your home, it’s all about professionalism in every aspect of the job. If you like what you see and want your home included on the list, give me a call at (225) 772-8709.

How’s the Market

Published: January 12, 2014

Filed Under: Market Trends

Baton Rouge used to be New Orleans’ second cousin, but not so much anymore.  Just take a look at what’s happening all around us, and you can’t help but be positive about Baton Rouge.  The leaders of our business community have declared 2013 a game changing year and here’s why.

In March we learned that IBM had reached an agreement with area leaders to open a business services center in a new riverfront complex downtown.  This announcement was followed in December with news of a downtown 28-acre Water Campus dedicated to ground breaking research in the areas of coastal erosion and the environment.  We also learned we were getting a branch of the LSU Medical School right here in Baton Rouge.

In 2013 there were some other major annoucements and developments as well.  Construction of new Acadian Village Shopping Center was completed and Trader Joe’s joined the area’s mix of upscale grocers.  Costco announced it was coming to Baton Rouge.  Construction also began on the Super Walmart at Bluebonnet and Burbank. And, Matherne’s announced it will open a much needed new super market in downtown Baton Rouge.

When CB&I purchased The Shaw Group some were concerned about the impact on Baton Rouge, but it’s turned out well.  CB&I has increased their local presence and Jim Bernhard, Shaw’s CEO and Founder, has opened new venture capital offices downtown.  Even our local newspaper changed ownership.  In May, John Georges, a successful New Orleans businessman and entrepreneur, purchased The Advocate from the Manship family.  The blending of news and reporting from New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge has engaged readers and is creating an awareness of Baton Rouge’s regional importance and impact.

So, when people ask me “How’s the real estate market?”  I have to put it in the context of the overall growth in the Baton Rouge community.  While there is some concern about rising interest rates an increase into the 5% range is still low compared to high interest rate environments in the past.  We have a strong employment base.  We have major investments taking place in our community, and I am very positive about the future.  That optimism is reflected in last year’s area home sales and also all the new home construction currently underway.  Here’s to 2014!

20122013% Change
Detached Single Family Homes# Homes SoldAverage Price# Homes SoldAverage Price# Homes SoldAverage Price
Near LSU971$283,9001,147$301,20818.1%6.1%
Near Towne Center444$303,396450$291,4381.4%-3.9%
Near Shenandoah724$209,421815$223,88812.6%6.9%
Zachary298$220,207377$213,59826.5%-3.0%
Central62$214,754101$232,18162.9%8.1%
All East Baton Rouge Parish3,680$209,3814,174$218,61513.4%4.4%

Source: Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, Multiple Listing Service, January 12, 2014

Changes to our flood insurance program

Published: November 7, 2013

Filed Under: Market Trends, Videos

You’ve likely seen a lot of information in the news about increases to flood insurance premiums. Homeowners are reasonably concerned about the impact these changes will have on the cost of coverage and the value of their homes. I’ve also seen and heard a lot of misinformation. The information in this post is from FEMA.  Their website is excellent and while their videos are not the most entertaining, they are informative.

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act

Here are some things you should know as well as key provisions of the plan.

Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) came about through legislation called the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

The law requires changes to all major components of the program, not just flood insurance premiums.  Additionally included is flood hazard mapping, grants, and the management of floodplains.  Primary and secondary residences are affected as well as businesses.

The reason for the change was that the premium structure didn’t reflect the true risks and costs of flooding.  Some homeowners and businesses were receiving insurance at “subsidized” rates.

In Louisiana 83% of NFIP policy holders have policies that are already “acturarially rated” meaning that the premiums on these policies reflect current risk.

10% of all Louisiana NFIP policies cover subsidized primary residences, which will remain subsidized unless or until the property is sold (new rates will be charged to the next owner) or the policy lapses.

4% of Louisiana’s NFIP policies will see increases up to 25% each year until premiums reflect full risk rates.  These include non-primary residences, businesses, and severe repetitive loss properties.

Currently House and Senate leaders are involved in bi-partisan discussions and have proposed delays to increases in premiums for primary, non-repetitive loss residences that are currently grandfathered, all properties sold after July 6, 2012, and all properties that purchase a new policy after July 6, 2012.  These suggested revisions are in the proposal stage.  A vote has not been taken.

The best source of information on flood insurance premiums is your insurance agent.  Carter Fourrier, with the Fourrier Agency, was recently at our office to explain the law and it’s provisions.  You might want to give them a call as we all found the discussion very help and Carter and his team are highly knowledgeable.  Go to: www.fourrieragency.com or call Carter at (225) 383-0682.

The FEMA website has lots of information and videos.  I will post the ones I find most interesting.  You should also visit the FEMA site, www.FEMA.gov.

LSU has a handy website that can show you were you home is located.  Go to:  maps.LSUAgCenter.com.  Please note, however, that these floodmaps may not be 100% accurate.  You may need to get a flood elevation certificate or there may be map adjustments that are not currentlly reflected by the mapping tools.

Sell Your Home for More Money in Less Time

Published: September 16, 2013

Filed Under: Market Trends, Real Estate Investing

When you list your home for sale, hire an agent who out performs the market.  How did I do that?  Give me a call at (225) 772-8709.

September 2012 – September 2013Average Days on MarketAverage Continuous Days on Market% Sold/List Price
Helene Kurtz455697.9%
All Baton Rouge Agents9111497.0%

Source:  Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, Sales and Inventory Report.  September 16, 2013.

Learning the latest techniques for getting your home sold!

Published: September 13, 2013

Filed Under: Education

When considering listing your home for sale with a real estate agent it’s important to ask, “What was the last class you took to improve your home selling and marketing skills?”  No matter how much you know, or how much you think you know, there’s always more to learn.  That’s why I just completed a two day course in obtaining and servicing real estate listings.

The class was conducted by the Council of Residential Specialists of the National Association of Realtors.  It was held in Baton Rouge at our local office.  The course included techniques in seller counseling, pricing, various client servicing activities, marketing techniques, and other programs designed to close sales on residential properties.

I enjoyed it.  I learned from it.  And, I had a good time with other top producing agents in my market.  I’m glad the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors brought this program to our market and will definitely attend the next in a series of programs planned for next year.

Good news for home sellers

Published: August 14, 2013

Filed Under: Market Trends, Videos

The Skinny from The Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors

Here’s the latest from the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.  Home prices are returning to pre-recession levels and inventory is at a 5 year low. 

What Cliff?

Published: January 3, 2013

Filed Under: Market Trends, Real Estate Investing

Wondering how the new legislation passed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” might affect your real estate investments?  This information was posted on the realtor.org website this morning. 

Real Estate Extenders

  • Mortgage Cancellation Relief is extended for one year to Jan. 1, 2014
  • Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums for filers making below $110,000 is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
  • 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
  • 10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012

Permanent Repeal of Pease Limitations for 99% of Taxpayers

Under the agreement so called “Pease Limitations” that reduce the value of itemized deductions are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers.  These limitations will only apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000.  These thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation and will rise over time.  Under the formula, the amount of adjusted gross income above the threshold is multiplied by three percent.  That amount is then used to reduce the total value of the filer’s itemized deductions.  The total amount of reduction cannot exceed 80 percent of the filer’s itemized deductions.

These limits were first enacted in 1990 (named for the Ohio Congressman Don Pease who came up with the idea) and continued throughout the Clinton years.  They were gradually phased out as a result of the 2001 tax cuts and were completely eliminated in 2010-2012.  Had we gone over the fiscal cliff, Pease limitations would have been reinstituted on all filers starting at $174,450 of adjusted gross income. 

Capital Gains

Capital Gains rate stays at 15 percent for those in the top rate of $400,000 (individual) and $450,000 (joint) return.  After that, any gains above those amounts will be taxed at 20 percent.  The $250,000/$500,000 exclusion for sale of principle residence remains in place.

Estate Tax

The first $5 million dollars in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax.  After that the rate will be 40 percent, up from 35 percent.  The exemption amounts are indexed for inflation.

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