Metairie, LA Real Estate News

By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
With October newly arrived, it’s a time of year when Metairie homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief; relax and take it easy. With summer behind us, most gardens require less attention. The demands harsh winter weather will make are off in the distant future— or are they?This year it might be prudent for Metairie homeowners to mentally remove a month or two from their home maintenance timetables. The reason comes in two familiar words (and they aren’t English): El Niño.According to the government’s NOAA climate forecasters, there is “an approximately 95% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-2016…” Since that is definitely Metairie’s hemisphere, they’re speaking to us.  They answer the question, “How strong is this El Niño now?” with, “it’s pretty st...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
The Metairie real estate listings consist of the lineup of Metairie homes that are currently “on the market.” They’re for sale. Offered to buyers. Available for purchase. “On the market” is a straightforward real estate term; end of discussion. So, you’d think that “off the market” should be equally unequivocal, and it would be, if it weren’t for “off-market,” with which it’s easily confused. And then there’s the fact that what actually happens after a formerly listed property goes off the market can result in a several different outcomes. Sounds like a dose of contradictory Metairie real estate jargon—but it can be sorted out with a little determined effort. Here goes: In real estate, off the market denotes a property that was listed in the past but currently pulled from the market. It...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
If you ask anyone doing serious house hunting in Metairie how they are going about it, there are few who won’t point to the web (nationally, 88% use it) as at least one of the top two most useful tools (their Metairie Realtor® is the other one: 87%). Yes, yard signs are helpful, and its first cousin, the Open House, is another (they’re related since it’s hard to imagine an Open House without a yard sign or two). Both come into the house hunting picture a little less than half the time, according to NAR®statistics. A quarter of house hunting expeditions also rely on one or more online video sites, but I think that’s just because online listings frequently link to those to display virtual tours. To a prospective buyer, it may not even be evident that a different site has been used. In fac...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Overpriced Properties and Related Problems: Buyer’s and real estate agents use overpriced properties to help sell properly priced properties.  Overpriced properties tend to discourage buyers where they think they will never find what they want at the price they prefer.  Then when a truly comparable home is shown that is properly priced it stands out as being the best value on the market and it sells.  Overpriced properties become known as “shop worn” where they have been on the market for a long time.  Sellers then begin to reduce the price over and over again and eventually sell for a price well below what would have been considered as its proper market value when it was first placed on the market.  Real estate agents tend to put the overpriced properties out of their mind and simply d...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Back at the beginning of 2012 there came a ‘pinch me, I must be dreaming’ moment. This was back in what seemed to be the Bad Old Days, when Metairie homeowners who dared to check the latest in neighborhood home values were apt to spend a sleepless night as a result. Metairie home values had only just begun to creep upward, but the bottom line was still, as truck drivers used to say, ‘negatory.’ The Rip Van Winkle ‘pinch me’ moment was a single piece of polling information that, by itself, seemed to register a hard-to-swallow phenomenon. If believed, it would have the first glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It came in the form of a Rasmussen poll reporting some of what people in America were thinking. In part, Rasmussen summarized “Belief among homeowners that home value...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Know Your Competition The term real estate people use is “absorption rate” which means how many homes are for sale and how many homes have sold in the past 6 or less months.  If you don’t know which homes you are competing with it is difficult to know where to price your home to make it more attractive than the competition.Know Your Expired Competition Another way of looking at expired properties is to consider them as properties that the MARKET REJECTED – they did not sell.  Why didn’t they sell?  Usually because the price did not reflect its condition or simply put – they were overpriced.  There is a price for every property at which it will sell.  The competition of homes for sale, homes that expired and homes that sold will determine what the price is.  The market price is based on ...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Being able to work within a realistic family budget has become an increasingly important part of modern living for many Metairie residents. Metairie’s cost of living may not have been exploding —but most people are keeping an eye on it anyway.The lingering effects of the last decade’s financial dislocations—combined with the slow-motion recovery from the Great Recession—have made monitoring expenses a practical necessity. The wolf doesn’t actually have to be at the door for that more cautious attitude to have developed. Consumer optimism may be on the rise, but it’s a pretty gentle incline. In any case, it does seem that spending on frivolous knickknacks is becoming a rarer diversion. Into that general climate comes last week’s news item. It’s one that could bring some of the more fruga...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
              In New Orleans real estate, there are happy words (“sold!”) and there are troubling words (“default”). Because of the associations they conjure up, some phrases just automatically make us happier. Two of the leaders in the positive category are the magical words, ‘vacation home.’ All by themselves, they can trigger a smile. Why not? “Home” is comforting; “vacation” is fun. Put them together in “vacation home” and you’ve got a double positive. It’s a real estate equivalent of Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise. As the economy recovers, some American families are doing more than just smiling at the idea. The Wall Street Journal says that vacation home sales jumped more than 50% in 2014—up from 717,000 the year before. Quicken Loans reports a jump “in both the number an...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Know Your Mortgage TermsMost mortgages do not have pre-payment penalties involved but some do.  Call your mortgage company and ask what is needed to sell your home and what fees may be applicable.  Send your mortgage company an official notification of placing your property on the market and ask for a payoff so you can negotiate from knowledge rather than just guessing.Being Mentally PreparedSellers are attached to their homes.  To be as effective as possible you need to detach yourself from your home and think more of it as a “house”, a commodity that is being sold rather than family memories.  Buyers don’t care about your memories or your lifestyle – they just want to buy a home and then begin building on THEIR memories and lifestyle.  Be prepared for what might be considered as insul...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
ResearchIt is imperative that you know which way the market is flowing.  When there are MORE buyers than sellers, you are in a “Seller’s Market” and sales are brisk.  But when there are MORE sellers than buyers you are in a Buyer’s Market and the limited available and qualified buyers typically “rule the roost” as they negotiate from a position of supply and demand and power.  The market that existed just 30 days prior to today is no guarantee that it is the same today.Scheduling EventsSellers need to be aware of what needs to happen and by what date it needs to happen in order to insure that a scheduled closing occurs when indicated.  Sellers cannot rely upon buyers to do the right thing.  Sellers need to maintain a schedule of events for themselves as well as the probable buyer and th...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Is your home safe for visitors? Remember that showing your home is going to interfere with your day to day life.  You will need to prepare for some inconvenience and intrusion into your privacy.  Consider the safety of your visitors.  There may be seniors as well as small children walking around your home.   Is there a statue or tall lamp that could easily fall if touched?  Are there wires at ground level that could trip someone?  Are there rugs that tend to slide?  Are stair railings safe for small children?  Could a visitor be bitten by a bird or other animal?  Are the stairs free of small toys?  Are traffic patterns open between rooms?   Also consider your own security and privacy.  Put away valuable possessions.  Do not leave money, guns, jewelry, x rated magazines or any personal i...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Are you staged and ready? Sellers often ask if it would be best to show their home furnished or vacant.  Of course this depends on how the home is furnished.  If your home is dirty, messy, and poorly decorated, you need to stop and assess the situation. It may be possible to move out, and then stage the home with a few pieces of furniture and accessories.  There are staging services that can help with this.  Generally, some furniture will help to soften the interior and show it in an optimum way.  However, I prefer a vacant house over a disaster. It is important to keep the buyer’s focus on the property, and not on your family.  Remove most of your personal collections, family photos, political statements or artistic expressions of yourself.  These distract from the important mission th...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
In a slower real estate market, sellers cannot afford to ignore any part of the marketing process.  Price, preparation, and presentation must be excellent in order to attract a buyer. The price must be set realistically.  Preparation should include fresh paint, de-cluttering, updated floor materials, and no glaring repair needs.  And, presentation should be meticulous, with drapes open, lights on, lawn mowed, and interior cleaned.  Showing your home is the final step in winning the heart of a buyer.  When a buyer calls for a showing, he or she already has an interest in your neighborhood and may have viewed your home on line.  They are willing to invest time to visit your home.  It is worth the effort to make each showing one that will be remembered.   Here are some questions to conside...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
In Metairie real estate, there are happy words (“sold!”) and there are troubling words (“default”). Because of the associations they conjure up, some phrases just automatically make us happier. Two of the leaders in the positive category are the magical words, ‘vacation home.’ All by themselves, they can trigger a smile. Why not? “Home” is comforting; “vacation” is fun. Put them together in “vacation home” and you’ve got a double positive. It’s a real estate equivalent of Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise.As the economy recovers, some American families are doing more than just smiling at the idea. The Wall Street Journal says that vacation home sales jumped more than 50% in 2014—up from 717,000 the year before. Quicken Loans reports a jump “in both the number and dollar volume of...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
When your family needs more or less elbow room, or a neighborhood change is in order, it’s time to start combing the listings for the right Metairie house for sale. At the same time, though, now that prices have been steadily rising for so long, it’s not unreasonable to ask yourself if this a good time to be looking? The question arises from the investment side of a home purchase; so it’s logical to ask what the investors are doing…Those who looked upon any Metairie house for sale only as an investment rather than a place to live tend to fall into one of two groups. The first live by the buy low, sell high school of investing. It’s a philosophy that makes perfect sense—it’s been around since before Wall Street was even paved, and its logic is unarguable. Back when U.S. real estate price...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Tip: Print out this checklist, and mark each item off as you get your house ready to sell. 1. Eliminate half of your belongings as clutter can cost a sale. Rent a storage unit or portable pod for extraneous pieces of furniture or knickknacks. Another idea is to ask a friend if you can borrow some space in his or her garage. 2. Use "home wash" (hose attachment available at home improvement stores) to clean the outside of the house. 3. Clean rain gutters as well as outside windows and screens. 4. Make sure the front door is inviting. Paint the door if needed. Also, replace any outdated outdoor lighting fixtures. 5. Buy new house numbers if the old ones are dated or faded. Be sure buyers can see the new ones from the curb. 6. Buy a new welcome mat. 7. Organize all closets and drawers. Buy...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
Tricks of the trade to help you get top dollar when selling your home.Selling Secret #10: Pricing it rightFind out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closetsStorage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.Selling Secret #8: Light it upMaximize the light in your home. After ...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
  The way the media treated last week’s federal funds rate announcement by the Federal Reserve Board was a convincing demonstration of how much importance is placed on that singular piece of the financial puzzle. That rate may not be directly tied to Metairie mortgage interest rates, but since it determines lenders’ borrowing costs, its effect is considerable.For many years now, Metairie mortgage interest rates have been comfortably nestled near the bottom of their historical range. Many Metairie homeowners have enjoyed the resulting low monthly payments on their mortgages. Metairie home sellers have likewise benefitted from home loan interest rates that make their properties more affordable than would otherwise be the case. Real estate repercussions are a major part of the reason that ...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
MISCONCEPTION #1: The Listing Agent “Sells” The HouseNo agent, no matter how good they are, can “sell” a house to a buyer. No buyer is going to let any agent “sell” them an item costing hundreds of thousands of dollars unless the buyer sees value in the property and therefore wants to buy it. In truth, the house must “sell” the house. This is because once a buyer sees the property, the buyer will probably get into a “comparison shopping” mode comparing the seller’s home with all the other homes the buyer has seen and then make the decision to either buy or not buy based on those comparisons. The price the buyer will pay will also be based on the comparison of the seller’s home to the other homes (i.e., the “competition”) on the market. The seller’s home must stand on its own! I will off...
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By Terez B. Harris, Your Real Estate Advocate
(Keller Williams Realty New Orleans)
  For anyone who has never participated in a serious house-hunting effort, their mental image of how the experience will unfold may be a little off. They might imagine that, after narrowing down their requirements for a Metairie home (size, price range, and the like) they will agree on a day and time, then just climb into their Metairie agent’s car and settle back to have the likely prospect properties exposed before them.In fact, the house-hunting procedure is almost like that, except for one major detail:A property search is a participation sport! Experienced Metairie property searchers have learned to husband their energy on any day that includes home showings. Especially when their property search doesn’t immediately yield a find that fits their target criteria, they know that it ma...
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