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8 Steps to a Better Credit Score

by Glenda Daughety & Team

Are you planning to buy a home in Baton Rouge? If so, then having a good credit score is essential. Sure, you may not need as high as a score to buy a home as in times past. But keeping your score as high as you can will keep you from having to pay more. A higher score will mean you will have lower interest rates and will need less money down. If you need to improve your credit score, what are some ways that you can raise it quickly?

What are some ways you can make your score improve and maintain a good score?

1. Pay Bills on Time

This is important, as it makes up 35% of your score.  And if you have trouble remembering when payments are due, you can set up automatic payment or use an app to help you.

2. Correct Errors on the Credit Report 

Check credit reports and make sure there aren't any.  If you find any, call any creditor that's reporting the error and follow up with a letter with the same request. Then notify all of the credit bureaus of the changes and let the creditors know you've done so.  This will help motivate them to make the needed corrections.

3. Raise Your Available Credit

Check with an existing creditor to see if they can raise your limit.  This can also help your score.

4. Keep Old Credit Cards Open

10% of credit scores are based on history, so if you have an older credit card, keep it open.

5. Consolidate Cards

Having numerous cards with smaller balances doesn't help your score.  Try to consolidate smaller balances onto one card, or at least fewer cards.

6. Don't Rack Up Balances

Keeping a lower credit utilization ratio will also help your score. 30% of your limit is a good goal. That means, for example, if you have a $1000 limit, then you would keep your balance below $300.

7. Negotiate

If you have a defaulted card, it can wreak havoc on a score. You can work with the creditor to accept a partial payment for a debt in collections in exchange of reclassifying the debt as paid.

8. Don't Keep Applying for New Credit

10% of your score is affected by new credit applications. Don't apply for a new card unless you absolutely have to.

Of course there are other ways to maintain a great credit score. But if you start with these points, you will be on your way to a better score in no time.

We invite you to check back on our blog every week for more great real estate advice, along with articles about the great reasons to buy a home in Baton Rouge. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest real estate updates for Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

Adding a Deck? Here's What to Consider

by Glenda Daughety & Team

What to consider when adding a deck.Have you been thinking about adding a deck to your home?  There’s really no better way to enjoy the outdoors in Baton Rouge.  But when it comes down to it, what you end up with will depend on how much you are willing to spend.  According to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report,” based on a national review of costs based on a 16x20 deck with pressure-treated joists, a built-in bench and planter, a wood deck on average can cost around $10,000, while a composite deck can set you back almost $18,000. So the end result of your deck will be largely affected by 3 factors - size, style, and the contractor.  Before you begin, you can and should get an idea of how much your deck will cost when completed.

How much does it cost to build a deck?

There are a number of factors that will determine the final cost. Installation is a major factor.  Once you figure out the installation costs, you’ll be able to pin down the final cost of the project. According to Andrew Wormer, editor of Professional Deck Builder magazine: “For every dollar spent on materials and supplies, expect to spend another dollar to have it installed.” Some contractors cover both labor and materials in their quote.

Planning Your Deck Installation

Set Limits: Just like adding any room in your house, you’ll need to follow local Baton Rouge building and zoning codes. This may also affect the size of the deck.  You also need to plan for upkeep in the future.  Synthetic materials cost more up front, but they don’t need as much maintenance, costing lees overall.

Budget: What are your “wants” vs your “need” when it comes to a deck?  First you need to set a limit on the total price you’re able and willing to pay. You also need to consider the size of the deck in relation to the size of your home. The deck needs to be proportional.  You don’t want to have a large home with a tiny deck. And if your home is smaller, an elaborate deck also may not look the best. Also, check with your homeowner’s insurance to see about the need for additional insurance for your deck.

Find the Right Contractor:  Finding the right contractor is essential, so make sure to do your research. Try to get quotes from at least 3 contractors so that you get a fair price.  Also check online reviews, and ask potential contractors for photos of past projects.  You should also check with your local building department to make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured.

Reducing Costs

How can you reduce costs? Make sure you stay away from fancy design features. You can also reduce costs by reducing the overall size of the deck. Using the right materials up front makes a huge difference. Untreated decks cost less to install, but more to maintain. The reverse is true for composite decks. Also, if you build during the fall or winter, it could save you more, as contractors have fewer jobs and may be inclined to reduce their costs.

Building a deck is a great way to increase the value of your home, both in how you enjoy living in it now and in the future when you decide to sell it. Join us every week for more ideas for the home, local real estate news, and Baton Rouge community articles.

How to Find the Perfect Home

by Glenda Daughety & Team

It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll probably ever make, one that you will likely be living with for years. Buying a home – the perfect home. It’s a goal most people have. What is the perfect home, and how can you find it?

What Is the "Perfect Home"

The perfect home is simply a home that fits your needs the best. So the definition is up to you. What matters the most to you in a home? Make a list of what’s important to you and separate what you want from what isn't important. If you have a partner buying with you, compare your lists and compare them to see what you can compromise on and what you can't.

Also think about the homes you lived in before and what you did and didn’t like. Keep those things in mind when searching for a home.

How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can afford is critical and the first thing you should do when deciding what home is “perfect”. Don't make the mistake of basing it on the maximum amount you can borrow. Make sure there’s a comfortable margin between your payments and other expenses such as taxes, repairs, appliances, furniture, and so forth. It would be a shame to find a beautiful home and then have to struggle financially to live there.

Get the Right Help

The right real estate professional will make the difference between triumph and failure. And don’t be tempted to go it alone either. Real estate agents have access to information that you don’t, and they have the experience to help you find the ideal home.  They can also negotiate the best price and recommend the best lenders.

Location, Location, Location

No one wants bad neighbors. Of course it’s not possible to completely rule it out, you can still do research on the area to find one that’s the most livable. Drive around the area at different times of the day and ask yourself how safe you would feel living there.  Also make sure to test your commute during rush hour to the neighborhood. A longer commute could make it a deal killer.

Do Your Homework

This takes some time and money, but is well worth it. Compare property values around the home and look at trends. What are homes selling for in the area? This information can help you negotiate a better price. Also make sure to hire your own home inspector to find potential issues.  Finding these up front can help you as well in negotiations with the seller.

Finding the perfect home is not impossible if you follow these basic steps.

We invite you to check back on our blog every week for more great real estate advice, along with articles about the great reasons to buy a home in Baton Rouge. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest real estate updates for Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

How to Spend Less on Granite Countertops

by Glenda Daughety & Team

Are you looking for a way to raise your home’s value and improve its look and functionality? Granite countertops are the answer. There’s no denying the popularity of granite countertops. They’re tough, stylish, low maintenance, and always a good choice. Bu aren’t granite countertops expensive? Not if you do your research and make good choices. You don’t have to buy the most expensive granite to get outstanding results. Here’s what you should know about granite counters and how you can cut back the cost of installing one.

Costs

It can cost from $2000 - $4500 to install a granite countertop, and is usually priced by the square foot.  This price usually includes delivery, installation, and simple edge finishes.  So if you plan a simple installation, you will pay the least amount. But if you need extra features such as decorative edge treatments and cutouts for sinks or stove tops, you will of course pay more. You also need to take into account plumbing hookups and disposal of your old countertop.

Also keep in mind that the grade of the countertop will affect the price as well. Grade is based on stone availability, color, shipping and distinctiveness, and doesn’t always reveal the granite’s overall quality.

How to Save Money

1. Shop around

You need to compare granite from a number of different sources, such as big box stores, design studios, granite fabricators, and companies that specialize in prefabricated granite counters. And of course, make sure whoever you hire is insured.  Look at online reviews and talk to family or friends who have had granite installed. Visit the top 3 installers that you find to talk to them and look at their work.

2. Buy the sink and faucet separately

Buying the sink, faucet and any plumbing separately lets you get the lowest prices on each item.

3. Use a remnant

You may be able to find discounts on smaller pieces of stone left over from other projects.

4. Go prefab

Prefabricated counters are already cut and polished, and are great for simple counters that don’t need many cuts.

5. Have the installer do final measurements

Make sure the installer takes the final measurements and make a template which the final estimate will be based on. This will avoid making expensive mistakes.

In the end, you don’t have to be rich to have granite countertops.  Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll soon be enjoying a great granite countertop in your home.

We invite you to check back on our blog every week for more great real estate advice, along with articles about the great reasons to buy a home in Baton Rouge. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest real estate updates for Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

Top Things to Do in Baton Rouge

by Glenda Daughety & Team

Are you running out of ideas to entertain the family during the summer break? No problem. Baton Rouge is brimming with entertaining activities and things to do for the whole family. Here's a few of the top things to do in Baton Rouge to keep you on track this summer.

Mike the Tiger Habitat

Who doesn’t love tigers, especially Mike the tiger? Mike is the famed mascot of LSU and enjoys his life in a lush habitat that covers 15,000-square feet of space. There have actually been several tigers that have been the live mascot of LSU, with the current Mike being the 7th, with the first one in 1934 known as the “Ole War Skule.” Bring the whole family to see this majestic cat and learn about their history.

Capitol Park Museum

There’s something for everyone at the Capitol Park Museum. As their website puts it “From Louis Armstrong to Huey P. Long, from Mardi Gras to fais-do-do, and from the nation-building commerce of the Mississippi River to the life-sustaining bounty of the Gulf of Mexico, the Capitol Park Museum provides a panoramic exploration of the most vibrant state in America.”

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

If exploring nature is more your thing, then Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is the ideal place to take your family.  This 103-acre facility focuses on conservation, education, recreation and tourism.  They also feature a 9500-square-foot building filled with live animal exhibits, along with photographic presentations of the site's flora and fauna, natural artifact and mineral displays, and a sizeable, vintage waterfowl decoy carving collection.

Baton Rouge Zoo

You can’t beat a great zoo for keeping the family entertained. In addition to viewing the animals, you can enjoy twilight tours and other events throughout the year.  You can spend more than a few hours viewing the more than 944 animals and birds, along with  a children's area, tram and train rides that make this zoo perfect for the whole family.

Join us every week on our blog for more great reasons to call Baton Rouge home.  You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest real estate updates for Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

Should You FSBO?

by Glenda Daughety & Team

Are you planning to sell your home in Baton Rouge? In this current real estate market some home sellers may think it’s a good idea to sell their home on their own. This is known as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). Is selling your home as a FSBO a good idea?

Here are the top five reasons why selling as a FSBO is not the best idea:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers

Real estate agents have typically been in business for years and have spent thousands of dollars on marketing strategies designed to sell homes quickly. That’s how they make a living. Do you have a marketing strategy and network that will expose your home to the most sellers? And sorry, putting up an ad on Craigslist or Facebook doesn’t even come close. An effective agent can expose your home to buyers across the country, or even the entire world? Can you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the home they actually purchased?

49% on the internet

31% from a Real Estate Agent

7% from a yard sign

1% from newspapers

94% of buyers found their home from a method other than a FSBO seller. Putting a sign on the front lawn will only expose your home to maybe hundreds of people. Agents using the internet can expose your home potentially to millions of people. Which method do you think is more effective?

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

The buyer who wants the best deal possible

The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer

The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)

The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house

The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult

Do you love doing tons of paperwork? If so, then selling a home by yourself will be perfect for you. But if you’re like most people, you don’t love doing tons of paperwork.  So in that case, let someone else do it. And there’s more paperwork to be done now than ever, due to industry disclosures and regulations having become mandatory. This is why the percentage of people who sell as FSBO has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

It may seem as if you’re saving money by selling your home on your own because you’re not paying the seller’s commission. But the fact is that the seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that people who sell as FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases, may be costing themselves more. Using an agent will expose your home to more buyers, and as such the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war. The study showed that the difference in price between comparable homes of size and location is currently at an average of 6% this year.

Why would you choose to list on your own and manage the entire transaction when you can hire an agent and not have to pay anything more?

We invite you to check back on our blog every week for more great real estate advice, along with articles about the great reasons to buy a home in Baton Rouge. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest real estate updates for Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

VA Loans Help Millions of Veterans Own a Home

by Glenda Daughety & Team

Do you know what government program has helped over 22 million veterans buy a home? It's known as the Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loans Program. The thing is that even though it's helped so many Americans buy a home, many veterans still do not know the details of the program. Are you a veteran and interested in buying a home? If so, here's a breakdown of the benefits of a VA loan and how you can apply.

Top 5 Benefits of a VA Home Loan

  • You can buy a home no down payment. 82% of all veterans with a VA Loan in 2016 bought a home with 0% down!
  • You don't need Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Usually PMI is required with other loans if the down payment is under 20%.
  • You can get a loan with a lower credit score. VA Home Loans don't require as high of a score as other loans. The average FICO® score of a borrower with a VA Loan is 620, as opposed to 676 for an FHA loan, or 753 for a conventional home loan.
  • Closing costs are limited. Sellers can pay all of a buyer’s loan-related closing costs and up to 4% in concessions in some cases.
  • VA Loans have the lowest interest rates of any home loan.

Who Qualifies for a VA Home Loan?

First you need to visit www.benefits.va.gov to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You need this to "verify to the lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan.”

You Can Apply for a VA Loan if You:

  • Serve 90 consecutive days during wartime
  • Serve 181 consecutive days during peacetime
  • Have more than 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves
  • Are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as the result of a service-related disability

With a VA Loan You Can:

  • Purchase a Home
  • Purchase a Condo
  • Build a Home
  • Refinance an existing home loan
  • Make improvements to a home by installing energy-related features or making energy-efficient improvements

If you've served this country and want to own a home of your own, why wait? Give us a call and we'll be happy to help you see if you qualify for a VA loan today.

Make sure to check back on our blog every week for more great real estate advice, along with articles about the great reasons to buy a home in Baton Rouge. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest real estate updates for Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

Contact Information

Photo of Glenda Daughety Real Estate
Glenda Daughety
RE/MAX First
4750 Sherwood Common Blvd
Baton Rouge LA 70816
225-205-2672
225-291-1234
Fax: 225-612-6422

 

All information and pictures on this website are copyright protected.

Glenda Daughety & Team
RE/MAX First
Office: 225-291-1234
Cell: 225-205-2672
4750 Sherwood Common Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
Licensed Realtor in the State of Louisiana by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission


Glenda Daughety, Team Leader

Michelle Copeland, Buyer Specialist

Ashley Daughety, Buyer Specialist / Stager Decorator

 

 

 

 

 

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