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!

2012 2013 % Change
Detached Single Family Homes # Homes Sold Average Price # Homes Sold Average Price # Homes Sold Average Price
Near LSU 971 $283,900 1,147 $301,208 18.1% 6.1%
Near Towne Center 444 $303,396 450 $291,438 1.4% -3.9%
Near Shenandoah 724 $209,421 815 $223,888 12.6% 6.9%
Zachary 298 $220,207 377 $213,598 26.5% -3.0%
Central 62 $214,754 101 $232,181 62.9% 8.1%
All East Baton Rouge Parish 3,680 $209,381 4,174 $218,615 13.4% 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: 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,

LSU has a handy website that can show you were you home is located.  Go to:  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 2013 Average Days on Market Average Continuous Days on Market % Sold/List Price
Helene Kurtz 45 56 97.9%
All Baton Rouge Agents 91 114 97.0%

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 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.

Classic Southern Home in Shenandoah Estates

Published: July 2, 2012

Filed Under: Just Listed

15835 New Market Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

This charming Southern home is located on nearly an acre in Shenandoah Estates. It’s surrounded by mature trees and landscaping on a quiet dead-end street. The outdoor living areas include brick patios, a gazebo, pergola, brick privacy walls, and wrought iron gates. Inside you’ll find a traditional 2-story home with front and rear balconies. The family room has a wood-beamed cathedral ceiling, vented fireplace, and beautiful glass and wood doors. You are sure to enjoy the generously sized rooms, particularly the guest/children’s rooms on the second floor and the sun room that is not included in the living square foot measurements. Recent updates include black, slab-granite counter tops in the kitchen and brand new carpet in the stairway and upstairs guest/children’s rooms. The front entry was also refreshed with a new front patio and landscaping.

Just listed at 15835 New Market Drive in Baton Rouge, LA.

Home with acreage and a gunite pool near LSU

Published: March 4, 2012

Filed Under: Just Listed, Videos

702 Halfway Tree Road, Baton Rouge, LA

I just listed this home in Area 5 off of Staring Road.  Two appointments scheduled this morning.  It’s really a gem and at a great price.  $315,000, 3BR/2.5BA, 2,432 sq.ft. of living space.  It’s so hard to find a home with Baton Rouge with acreage.  This one has over an acre, a gunite pool, beautiful Brazilian hardwood floors, and a gourmet kitchen.  So much attention to detail in this home.  A beaded board ceiling in the keeping room, waistcoting in the guest bath, dual shower head in the master bath plus a jetted tub.  It doesn’t stop there … the boat port/storage area has built in cabinets, and the attic is floored for extra storage.  Come by and see it.  It’s a great value and a great home.

« Previous PageNext Page »