A Note to Subscribers

I recently moved the West Bank Real Estate blog posts to another site, but not all of my readers have made the switch yet.

This is just a reminder that all updated real estate market reports and articles are now being posted at West Bank Living, where you can subscribe through email updates or through your RSS feed reader.

West Bank Living

I hope to see you there soon!

 


When buying or selling a home on the West Bank of New Orleans or relocating to the New Orleans West Bank, you deserve local expertise and advice. Lisa Heindel provides full time, professional real estate services to buyers, sellers and military transferees in Algiers, Algiers Point, Belle Chasse, Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, Marrero, Westwego and more.

              

Here’s the disclaimer part:  The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author, but you are free to share yours in the comments.  All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Copyright 2008.  Lisa Heindel, All rights reserved.

New West Bank Site is Up and Running!

I’ve been working on moving this blog to a new platform that allows me a little more flexibility and all of the hard work has finally paid off.   It’s still a work in progress, so look for improvements over the coming days.

Introducing West Bank Living:

West Bank Living

Going forward, all of my articles will be posted on the new site, so I invite you to visit and subscribe today! 

Thanks to all of my great readers for their support.  I appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Spring Home Selling Tip #3 – Clear the Clutter

Previously:

Spring Home Selling Tip #1 – Curb Appeal

Spring Selling Tip #2 – Clean, Clean, Clean

The third tip in this series is to clear the clutter.  We all have it – mail stacked up on the kitchen counter, old magazines, too many knick-knacks and photos on the end tables and shelves. 

When it’s time to put your home on the market, it’s time to pack these things up, donate them or throw them away.  You are planning to move, right?  So the packing will have to be done at some point and what better time to start than when you are not under the pressure of a closing deadline.

Most of us overlook the clutter in our homes.  We see it everyday and it just becomes a part of our lives.  Now that you have committed to make your home “show ready”, you must be prepared to tackle it and part (just temporarily) with some of your treasures.

Here is a quick and easy list of things you can put in those moving boxes ahead of time:

j0415799Family photos.  Don’t let buyers be distracted by a wall of family photos.  They can feel like they are intruding on your personal space and not give the house the attention that it deserves.

Seasonal items.  Pack those out of season clothes and make your closets look even bigger!  It’s spring, and you don’t need to have coats, scarves, boots and other fall and winter items taking up space you need to show off.  This is also the perfect time to reorganize closet space to make the most of it.

Books and magazines.  A few books on a shelf are fine.  An overflowing basket of old magazines is not.  Consider dropping them off to the local senior citizen center if you can’t bring yourself to throw them away or recycle them.  Too many books?  Donate them to the local library.

Knick-knacks.  Not only do you have to dust them to keep your home looking clean, but they too can distract a buyer who might be more interested in your model car collection than your house.

Movies, music and video games.  I’m not suggesting that you get rid of your DVD collection…only that you keep it out of sight! 

Kitchen appliances.  How often do you really use that blender on the j0385483 counter?  When preparing your home for sale, it’s a great time to clean out those cabinets and make them look spacious.  Get rid of all of those tupperware containers that have been warped in the dishwasher or are missing their lids and make space to store the things you usually keep on the counter tops.  If it is something you only use once or twice a year (for example, holiday dishes), go ahead and pack it for the move!

Linens.  Most of us don’t even use all of the towels and sheets that are stacked up in the linen closets.  Pack half of them and look at how much bigger your storage space seems.

Toys.  Have the kids pick their absolute favorite toys and make sure they can all fit neatly in their toy box.  Everything else can be packed and will seem like new when they get to their new house!

Need more tips on getting your home ready to sell?  Contact Lisa Heindel, REALTOR®.  I’d love to help you!

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When buying or selling a home on the West Bank of New Orleans or relocating to the New Orleans West Bank, you deserve local expertise and advice. Lisa Heindel provides full time, professional real estate services to buyers, sellers and military transferees in Algiers, Algiers Point, Belle Chasse, Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, Marrero, Westwego and more.

Copyright 2008. Lisa Heindel, All rights reserved.

Louisiana Property Disclosures Part 3 – Structure

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we covered the Louisiana property disclosures involving Land and the disclosures involving Termites and Wood Destroying Insects.


A quick recap about disclosures:

Home sellers in Louisiana (including for sale by owners) are required to provide a property disclosure prior to a potential buyer making an offer to purchase.  This mandate applies not only to sales, but also to exchanges, bond for deeds and lease purchase options.

If the property disclosure is supplied to the purchaser after an offer is received, the purchaser can terminate the purchase agreement without penalty up to 72 hours after receipt.  This means that no matter what terms are written in the sales contract, the purchaser can demand the return of their deposit and cancellation of the purchase agreement if the disclosures are not signed at the time an offer is submitted.


Our third section of Louisiana property disclosures involve the details about the structures located on the property and the condition of those structures.

The first section of structure involves defects in the major components as follow:

property disclosure - section 3 a

A known defect is defined as:  A condition found within the property that was actually known by the seller and that results in one or all of the following:

  • It has a substantial adverse effect on the value of the property
  • It significantly impairs the health or safety of future occupants of the premises
  • If not repaired, removed or replaced, significantly shortens the expected normal life of the premises

The next part of the structure section addresses specific concerns about the property and its condition:

property disclosure - section 3 b 

Has any structure ever taken on water by flooding (rising water or otherwise)?  Once again, I will remind you that it is imperative to be honest in answering these questions.  Any flooding, even if was way back in 1965 for Hurricane Betsy, needs to be disclosed and fully explained to potential purchasers.  Additional explanations can include drainage improvements made by the city or parish since that time.

What is the approximate age of all structures?    Oftentimes, a garage or shed has been added since the original construction of the home, so there may be a difference in ages between structures on the premises.

What is the approximate age of the roof of each structure?  Again, there may be an age difference between the roof of a home and the roof of a garage, guest house or shed.

Does the property contain EIFS or other synthetic stucco?  Given the troubled history of EIFS in Louisiana with our almost constant humid and moist climate, purchasers may want to have a stucco inspection performed on properties containing this product.  It is imperative to disclose the existence of any form of synthetic stucco on a property.

What is the approximate square footage of the living area of each structure?  What is the source of this information?  If you have builder’s plans or an appraisal, the square footage can be taken from these sources.  If you do not have this information, your agent can measure the property for you and be cited as the source. 

NOTE TO BUYERS:  Many square footage measurements in Louisiana are provided by the listing agents and should be considered an estimate, not a guarantee, of the living area of a home.  Your appraiser will provide you with a more precise square footage measurement.

Our next installment of Louisiana property disclosures will deal with Plumbing, Water, Gas and Sewerage.

If you need assistance with understanding the disclosure laws in Louisiana, please contact Lisa Heindel, REALTOR®.  I’d be happy to explain these forms in more detail to you.

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When buying or selling a home on the West Bank of New Orleans or relocating to the New Orleans West Bank, you deserve local expertise and advice. Lisa Heindel provides full time, professional real estate services to buyers, sellers and military transferees in Algiers, Algiers Point, Belle Chasse, Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, Marrero, Westwego and more.

Copyright 2008. Lisa Heindel, All rights reserved.
 

 

West Bank Weekend Events – April 18-20, 2008

It’s Thursday, and time to plan your West Bank weekend.  I love spring in New Orleans – there are so many fun events to attend that it’s hard to make a choice.  Here are a few you might be interested in going to:

Another Crawfish Boil!

crawfish

 

The Friends of the Algiers Courthouse is holding a crawfish boil on Saturday from 5-8 pm in Algiers Point at 225 Morgan Street.  The annual fundraiser helps to pay for repairs to the historic courthouse (built in 1896) and will feature music from Sheena and the Swamp Dogs and catering by Johnny’s Seafood.  Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance.  Call Irene Burrus at 392-1449 for tickets.

 

 

j0422223

Comedy Ball 

The annual gala for the West Bank ARC will be held on Saturday from 7-11 pm at the KC Hall in Gretna.  Featuring standup comedy, food, drinks, a silent auction and a terrific parade of prizes.  Please call 361-1121 for more information and tickets and help support this Gretna non-profit that assists individuals with disabilities become contributing members of their community. 

 

 

Christ the King School Fair – Naturally N’Awlins Allstarsballoons 2

Don’t you just love all of the spring school fairs?  Head on out to Terrytown any day this weekend for the Christ the King fair.  There will be food, games, a silent auction and live bands each day. 

Friday fair hours are 6-11 pm – Five Finger Discount performs at 7 pm

Saturday fair hours are 11 am -11 pm – Bag of Donuts performs at 7 pm

Sunday fair hours are 11:30 am -7 pm – Foret Tradition performs at 3 pm

 

Gretna Farmer’s Markettomatoes

Saturday, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm under the Market on Huey P. Long Avenue, between 3rd and 4th Street.  Crafts, art, music and lots of locally grown produce.

 

 

West Bank Cancer Relay for Liferelay for life

Taking place at the Gretna Market on Saturday from 2 pm til midnight, come out and support the teams participating in the annual Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.  There will be a Survivor’s Tent, games, prizes and live music.  Come have a late lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants near the market and cheer on both the walkers and survivors.  I have to get a plug in here for my favorite West Bank band, Chicken on the Bone, who will be playing from 10 pm to midnight to close out the event!

 

Aurora Tennis & Swim Club Open House

aurora country club

Saturday, between 4-7 pm, pop in and check out Aurora Tennis & Swim Club.  There are currently openings for both summer and year round members in this family friendly community club.  With 3 swimming pools (main, adult and kiddie pools), a playground, 11 lighted tennis courts, an exercise room and a bar, there is something for everyone at Aurora.  5244 General Meyer Avenue in Algiers.

Make it a great West Bank Weekend!

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Algiers, LA: April 2008 Real Estate Market Absorption Rates

An absorption report is a tool used to determine trends in your local real estate market.

  • How many homes are for sale in the area? Note: Homes listed with an agent only – For Sale by Owners are not included in these reports.
  • How long is it taking them to sell?
  • How many have sold in the last 90 days?
  • What price ranges are selling fastest?

It is basically a bird’s eye view of the supply and demand in your real estate market and is a way to do a spot check of current market conditions.

Remember, an absorption report is only a snapshot of the current market and the percentages change each time a new listing comes on the market or an existing listing sells.

When reviewing these reports, keep in mind that a balanced real estate market has a 5-6 month supply of homes for sale.  Less than that creates a sellers market, while more creates a buyers market.

Algiers, LA absorption rates as of 4/13/2008

Algiers – 70131

With a 14.9 month supply of homes on the market, Algiers zip code 70131 is still firmly in a buyers market.  The bright spots are in the $140,000-$180,000 price range which is showing signs of recent activity increases.

Algiers – 70114

Algiers zip code 70114 is up and down in the various price ranges, but the overall 13.9 month supply of homes for sale keeps it in the range of a buyers market, with the exception of the $100,000-$120,000 and the under $60,000 ranges.

Algiers Point

Algiers Point home sales continue to lag behind the rest of the West Bank, with a 22.4 month supply of homes for sale, the majority of them priced over $250,000. 

English Turn

English Turn is still a buyers market with the exception of the under $400,000 price range, where there is a shortage of homes for sale.  If you are an English Turn home owner who is willing to sell for less than $400,000, the odds are very good that you can do that in a fairly short time frame.

If you would like an absorption report for your Algiers neighborhood or for any other area of the West Bank of New Orleans, please contact Lisa Heindel, REALTOR®.  Providing you with all of the information you need to make an educated decision is just one of the many services I offer.

Copyright 2008.  Lisa Heindel, All Rights Reserved.

Louisiana Property Disclosures Part 2 – Bugs, Bugs and More About Bugs

Previously, we covered the Louisiana property disclosures involving Land.

Remember, home sellers in Louisiana (including for sale by owners) are required to provide a property disclosure prior to a potential buyer making an offer to purchase.  This mandate applies not only to sales, but also to exchanges, bond for deeds and lease purchase options.

If the property disclosure is supplied to the purchaser after an offer is received, the purchaser can terminate the purchase agreement without penalty up to 72 hours after receipt.  This means that no matter what terms are written in the sales contract, the purchaser can demand the return of their deposit and cancellation of the purchase agreement.

Our next section of disclosures involve termites and other wood destroying insects.  While termites aren’t anybody’s favorite topic, they are a fact of life in Louisiana, especially in the New Orleans area.  It is important to be painfully honest on your disclosure statements!  Believe me, more often than not, home and termite inspectors find evidence of previous damage that sellers may not have even known existed. 

It is only in the last 15 years or so that having a professional home and termite inspection became the standard practice during the home buying process.  Before then, buyers looked at houses and bought the one they liked.  No inspections, no disclosures, and no real information except what you could visibly see.  Now, it is imperative that you disclose everything you know about a property.

Here is a snapshot of section 2 of the property disclosure:

 property disclosure - termites

Y = Yes, N=No, NK=No Knowledge

Has the property ever had termites or other wood destroying insects?  Don’t be afraid to say Yes!  Most termite inspectors will tell you that there are 2 kinds of houses in the metro New Orleans area – those that HAVE termites and those that WILL have termites.  The fact that you may have had termites in the past will not put your house on the back burner for most educated buyers.

Was there any damage to the property?  Again, be honest.  If you had termites and there was damage as a result, you will need to provide an explanation for the buyers.  When, where and how are the rules – when did the damage occur, where was the damage and how was it repaired.

Was the damage repaired?  This ties directly to the question above and savvy buyers will want a complete explanation, not just a check mark in the Yes box.

Is the property currently under termite contract?  If so, with what company, when does the contract expire and what structures are covered by the contract?  Although it amazes me, there continue to be many homes not covered by an annual termite contract.  If you don’t have a contract and active termites are discovered during inspections, rest assured that you will be treating the property before any mortgage company will be willing to take it as collateral for a mortgage loan.

Stay tuned for the next installment:  Structure

If you are considering selling your West Bank home and would like more information on the required disclosures or a referral to a great termite guy, contact Lisa Heindel, REALTOR®.   I’d be happy to help!

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When buying or selling a home on the West Bank of New Orleans or relocating to the New Orleans West Bank, you deserve local expertise and advice. Lisa Heindel provides full time, professional real estate services to buyers, sellers and military transferees in Algiers, Algiers Point, Belle Chasse, Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, Marrero, Westwego and more.

Copyright 2008. Lisa Heindel, All rights reserved.