Monday, September 26, 2011

Rhythms on the River Fall 2011 Schedule

Located in the village of River Ranch, behind City Club

September 29th - The Molly Ringwalds
October 6th - Nik-L-Beer
October 13th - Louisiana Red
October 20th - Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
October 27th - Krossfyre
November 3rd - Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars
November 10th - GTO & the "D" Street Brass Band

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Sept 18 CHICAGO 12pm FOX
Sept 25 HOUSTON 12pm CBS
Oct 2 @Jacksonville 12pm FOX
Oct 9 @Carolina 12pm FOX
Oct 16 @Tampa Bay 3:15pm FOX
Oct 30 @St. Louis 12pm FOX
Nov 6 TAMPA BAY 12pm FOX
Nov 13 @Atlanta 12pm FOX
Dec 4 DETROIT 12pm FOX
Dec 11 @Tennessee 12pm FOX
Dec 18 @Minnesota 12pm FOX
Dec 26 ATLANTA 7:30pm ESPN

Sept 24 @FIU
Oct 8 TROY
Oct 22 @Western Kentucky
Oct 29 @Middle Tennessee St.
Nov 12 @Arkansas State
Nov 26 @Arizona

Sept 24 @West Virginia
Oct 15 @Tennessee
Nov 5 @Alabama
Nov 19 @Ole Miss

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Downtown Alive 2011!

Fall 2011 Season Schedule 5:30-8:30pm

September 2 - Parc International
Nik-L Beer (Classic Covers & Variety)

September 9 - Parc International
The Charmaine Neville Band (New Orleans Jazz & Funk)

September 16 - Parc International
T.K. Hulin, Steve Adams & Smoke with Special Guest Charlene Howard (Swamp Pop)

September 23 - Parc International
Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys (Cajun/Zydeco)

September 30 - Parc Sans Souci
Robbie Taylor Three (Rockabilly)

October 7 - Parc International
6 -7 p.m. Mercy Brothers (Hillbilly/Gospel)
7-8:30 p.m. The Original Bluerunners (Cajun/Zydeco)

October 14 - Parc International
Festivals Acadiens et Créoles Celebration & UL Homecoming Pep Rally
5:30-7 p.m. Horace Trahan and The Ossun Express
7-9:30 p.m. Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble

October 21 - Parc Sans Souci
Red Stick Ramblers (Cajun/Swing/Blues)

October 28 - Parc Sans Souci
True Man Posse (Creole Reggae)

November 4 - Parc Sans Souci
Brass Bed (Psychedelic Power Pop)

November 11 - Parc Sans Souci
5th Avenue Band (80's Covers & Variety)

November 18 - Parc International
Tab Benoit (Blues/Traditional Country/Vintage R&B)

November 23 - Parc Sans Souci
Special Thanksgiving Eve Performance with the Lighting of the Official City Christmas Tree - Toys for Tots
Pine Leaf Boys (Cajun)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee is approaching

For the benefit of all my friends and clients; especially Cajun implants...see below for general info I snagged from the internet for preparing for a storm. Feel free to ask me anything you have a question about...I've lived here all my life.


Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils
Blankets / Pillows, etc.
Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items - for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash

I would like to also add the following:
1. Hurricane lantern or glass candles (church-like ones)
2. Bleach
3. Fill the tub with water before the storm starts
4. Know which place in the house is best for a surprise tornado

What is a tropical storm and what do the categories mean for hurricanes?
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale / Hurricane Catagories
1) 65 to 83 knots; 74 to 95 mph; 119 to 153 kph; > 980 mb
2) 84 to 95 knots; 96 to 110 mph; 154 to 177 kph; 980 - 965 mb
3) 96 to 113 knots; 111 to 130 mph; 178 to 209 kph; 964 - 945 mb
4) 114 to 134 knots; 131 to 155 mph; 210 to 249 kph; 944- 920 mb
5) 135+ knots; 155+ mph; 249+ kph; < 920 mb

Once a tropical depression has intensified to the point where its maximum sustained winds are between 35-64 knots (39-73 mph), it becomes a tropical storm. It is at this time that it is assigned a name. During this time, the storm itself becomes more organized and begins to become more circular in shape -- resembling a hurricane. Most of what to expect from a tropical storm is heavy rainfall, but that can cause serious problems such as flooding.

Monday, August 15, 2011

July 2011 Market Stats

Many people talk about the decline of the real estate market here in Acadiana. Fact of the matter is, we are actually stable. The problem lies from Hurricane Katrina, which caused an unnatural spike is real estate prices in 2005 that held until 2007. So when looking at the graph (for a visual, please email me @ , it looks as though we are on a decline but we are still above 2004’s sales. If we wouldn’t had Katrina, the graph would look stable, growing steadily.

Here are the facts, from 2004-2007, the number of sold homes reported to MLS increased by 29.4%, with 22.6% of that happening in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. From 2007-2010, sales have decreased by 15.3%. This still puts us at 14.1% increase compared to 2004. Hope that puts things in perspective for you. It’s not a decline of the market, it’s a correction of the unnatural bubble.

In Acadiana, the number of homes sold in July 2011 compared to June 2010, have increased by 9.05%, with a 19 day increase of days on the market. July 2011 has slowed down with sales compared to June 2011’s with a 21.36% decrease. The heat coupled with the impending school year approaching must’ve slowed down sales.

The average sales price for the 2011 year thus far is $168,018, a 2.26% increase from 2010 at this time of the year. Homes are currently selling for 95.71% of the list price, on average.

Information provided by Van Eaton & Romero, CEO Bill Bacque. Reviewed and summarized in this blog by Kisha Kana, REALTOR

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lafayette LA got it's name from......

My son came home from city hall with the following "The Legacy of Lafayette" and I thought it would be nice to share.

Note: During the revolutionary war there was a French man named Marquis De LaFayette who helped America win the war.


When he came to America in 1777, LaFayette was more interested in fighting the English to avenge the death of his father than he was in the ideals of democracy. That soon change when he worked and fought alongside the founding father of our country, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Lafayette also learned much from two close friends that he made: Alexander Hamilton and John Laurans. They debated topics such as the nature of justice, the role of the government and the responsibilities of the individual. LaFayette came to understand that he was fighting for more than just America's seperation from England; he was fighting for the creation of a new era in world history where people could be governed by a rule of law rather than a tyrant's whim, a world where all people would be considered as equals before the law.

LaFayette came to understand that prejudice based on religion was wrong. When he left France in 1777. France recognized only one religion and persecuted all others. When LaFayette returned to France, he was able to secure state recognition of the Protestant religion. LaFayette also had a complete change of heart about racial prejudice. When he first came to America, he had a plan to buy and sell slaves; when he left America in 1885 he set up and funded an organization in French Guyana to free enslaved Africans.

LaFayette learned another very important lesson: education is not confined only to school-we continue to learn from each other and from our experiences throughout our lives. He discovered that simply winning the Revoluntionary War did not create democracy. Democracy requires the work and committment of all of its citizens, and it needs to constantly evolve to keep up with changes in society technology and circumstances. LaFayette left us a legacy of freedom-it is our job to keep it.

America love LaFayette. More than 600 villages, towns, cities, countries, mountains, lakes, rivers, educational institutions, and other landmarks were named for him, or for his chateau at La Grange. LaFayette loved America. He carried a box of dirt from Bunker Hill, site of the first major battle of the American Revolution, home with him to France. LaFayette left instructions that, when he died, this dirt must be placed in his grave so that he could be buried in American as well as French soil, and an American flag has flown over his grave for over 170 years.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Market in Harmony by Bill Bacque' CEO Van Eaton & Romero

June 2011 real estate market statistics find us in a state of synchronization rather than anomaly. In juxtaposition to 2010, when as a result of the Federal tax credit, home sales shot up from March through June and then cratered for most of the
remainder of the year, our local market has sustained a remarkable level of
normalcy during 2011. This is exemplified by the 219 closed residential sales totaling $41,057,718 in closed dollar volume reported for June 2011. While
underperforming June 2010’s numbers by 22%, June was the culminating month of last year’s tax credit surge. The number of pending residential sales best
reflects the “normalcy” of this year’s market. With 203 homes in contractual stages, June, as well as April, exemplify the steady momentum of pending sales that we we’ve enjoyed all year versus the “rollercoaster” effect that last year’s limited stimulus
created. June’s 21% increase in number of pending sales was complimented by a 28% increase in the corresponding dollar volume of those pending sales. This is reflective of the uptick in upper end buyers ($300,000 and up) that we have experienced during 2011.

In that same spirit of normalcy, the local market is experiencing near harmony in the listing/selling cycle. The ideal ratio of new listings to sold homes
is 1:1 — that means for every home listed, another one is sold. While many of the nation’s markets are seeing ratios that reach 6:1 and beyond, Lafayette
Parish has maintained a ratio below 2:1 with June 2011 at 1.65:1 ratio. Even though we are not experiencing a perfect equilibrium of listings to sales, we’re close enough to admit comfort. As we cross the halfway mark of 2011, the Lafayette
Parish housing market appears primed to retain the level of harmony we have come to expect.

To receive a copy of our latest Acadiana Residential Real
Estate Report, call Kisha Kana @ 337.255.5884 or email

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Market Analysis April 2011

In coming the reported home sales to MLS is all of Acadiana for April 2011 to April 2010, seems like it's taking 23 days longer to sell a home and they are selling at 95.29% of the list price. That's a drop down from 2010's 97.13%. Good news is that the average sales price increased by 1.54% bringing it up to $166,234.

For a full report from Van Eaton & Romero, please email

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

March 2011 Residential Market Stats

• Acadiana home sales fell 10.5% in March, with the REALTOR Association of Acadiana Multiple Listing Service reporting 289 sales in the nine-parish area compared with 323 reported in March of 2010. While the annual monthly count declined, the month-to-month sales increased from February to March 2011 by just under 28%, indicating that demand is picking up as we head into our traditional spring and summer peak selling season. For the first quarter of 2011 total home sales are nearly equal to the number reported in 2010 (Page 1).

• In Lafayette Parish the home sale numbers are a bit bleaker. March 2011 home sales reported (171) were 18.6% below March 2010 (210), although the month-to-month (February to March 2011) sales showed a robust increase of 19.6%. Cumulative 2011 Lafayette Parish home sales (427) are 8.8% below 2010 first quarter sales (468). The bulk of that decline is in new construction sales with a drop of 17.76% while re-sales dropped by 4.43% (Page 2). This first quarter underperformance has to be viewed in light of what was driving home sales in the first half of 2010 – the federal tax credits. In 2010 home sale demand was pushed into the first half of the year in order to take advantage of the tax credit. Once they expired in June 2010, home sales plummeted for the remainder of the year. Amid that backdrop, an underperformance in the first half of 2010 was virtually guaranteed. In observing the graph found on page 2 of this report, one can visually see the impact of the tax credits and the corresponding drop once they expired. The fact that new construction has seen the largest percentage drop in 2011 is also not surprising considering that it was the beneficiary of much of the demand spurred by the tax credits with 2010 new construction sales increasing nearly 10.5% over 2009.

• Despite the drop in demand, Lafayette Parish home values continue to perform surprisingly well. Page 4 of the report shows that the average sale price of a Lafayette Parish home for the first quarter of 2011 was $189,163 as compared to $189,771 for the same period in 2010. That is a decline of only three-tenths of one percent. The median sale price as of March 2011 was $164,000 compared to $166,400 as of March 2010; a decline of 1.44%.

• While March 2011 pending sales (those homes that went under contract), were below March 2010, they are substantially above the 2010 levels shown in the months after the contract deadline date for the 2010 tax credit which was April 2010 (Page 6).

• When studying the balance between current demand and supply in Lafayette Parish, the reports on pages 15-17 reveal much as to what is currently being sold versus what is listed for sale. Page 15 deals with all home sales reported in Lafayette Parish. Page 16 looks at just new construction while Page 17 highlights re-sales. In looking at page 15, the first point to note is that the number of home sales in the $150,000 - $299,999 range is where all of the drop in demand is centered (-20.68% from 2010). Again, that’s somewhat understandable inasmuch as this was the price range that saw the greatest increase last year due to the tax credits. Overall the number of month’s supply of housing in Lafayette has increased from 7.7 months in March of 2010 to 8.8 months in 2011.

• Page 16 reveals that re-sale buyer demand has declined not only in the mid-range $150,000 - $299,999, but also in the upper-range ($300,000 and up) and that the total number of month’s supply has grown from 8.2 months in 2010 to 9.2 months in 2011.

• Page 17 depicts the new construction market. Here we see that the mid-range home demand has declined substantially (-30.97%) but in the upper-end, particularly the $300,000 - $400,000 range, buyer demand has risen strongly over 2010 levels.

The bottom line is that just as in all aspects of life, the Acadiana housing market numbers contain both good and bad. Whichever area you wish to gravitate to, you’ll find what you’re looking for. I see our market as resilient and in pretty good shape considering the 2010 benchmarks we are forced to compete with. I believe it could be the end of the third quarter of this year before we will really be able to forecast our 2011 housing market performance in comparison to 2010. With the current level of pending sale activity, I remain optimistic.

William J. "Bill" Bacque
Chief Executive Officer

***for a copy of the full report, please email

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Truth about Foreclosure Sales

Many people believe that they can get a great deal on a foreclosure sale. They can! But not near what most people imagine. You won't get a home for half or less than what it's worth. The majority of the time, repairs will need to be done as most bank repos are sold 'as is' with no repairs. If you are a buyer with financing, it's even tougher to buy a foreclosed home (especially with Rural Development, FHA or VA financing). There are some gems that qualify, but cash buyers take on most of the foreclosed market.

Below is an article I came across that gives the reality of foreclosed sales in the U.S. They also provided stats on each state. Although I won't list all the states here, you can email if you'd like to see them.

LOUISIANA: Foreclosures made up 9.70% of sales (2,524) in 2010 That is a -4.36 decrease from 2009. The average sales price for a forclosed property was $131,574. The average discounted price is 25.15%.

RealtyTrac: 1 in 4 sales is a foreclosure
By Inman_News
Created 2011-02-23 21:00

Foreclosure sales accounted for 26 percent of U.S. home sales in 2010, with those properties selling for more than 28 percent less, on average, than homes not in the foreclosure process, data aggregator RealtyTrac said in its latest report .

A total of 831,574 U.S. residential properties either owned by banks or in some stage of foreclosure sold to third parties in 2010, a decrease of 31 percent from 2009 and a decrease of nearly 14 percent from 2008, RealtyTrac said.

Homes in foreclosure accounted for a larger percentage of sales in 2009 -- 29 percent -- but their share of total sales was up from 23 percent in 2008.

While controversy over loan servicers' handling of foreclosure paperwork put a dent in fourth quarter foreclosure sales, the impact of the so-called robo-signing controversy seemed to be waining in the final month of the year.

RealtyTrac recorded a total of 149,303 foreclosure sales in the fourth quarter, down 22 percent from the previous quarter and down 45 percent from the same period a year ago. That decline was in spite of a 21 percent monthly uptick in foreclosure sales volume in December.

"The catch-22 for 2011 is that while accelerating foreclosure sales will help clear the oversupply of distressed properties and return balance to the market in the long run, in the short term a high percentage of foreclosure sales will continue to weigh down home prices," said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio in a statement.

A total of 512,886 bank-owned (REO) properties sold to third parties in 2010 at an average discount of 36 percent, up from an average discount of 33 percent in 2009.

Another 318,688 pre-foreclosure properties -- homes in default or scheduled for auction -- sold to third parties in 2010 at an average discount of 15 percent, down from an average discount of nearly 17 percent in 2009.

February 2011 Market Analysis

The following is provided by Van Eaton & Romero. Information extracted from MLS sales in Acadiana.

The number of home sales increase 17.26% compared to February of 2010.

The average days on the market has increased by 8, bringing it to 120 days.

The average sales price is $161,633, which is a -3.06% decrease.

The average list to sold price ratio is 96.01%, which is a .7% decrease.

For a full report, email

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tidbits on Mardi Gras

For those of you who are not from Southern Louisiana (or an area that celebrates Mardi Gras) first off, you must experience Mardi Gras if you haven't already. It is quite the spectacule. Of course, New Orleans is wild, crazy and fun! But Lafayette, in my opinion, is best for families.

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday". Although widely celebrated by non-Catholics, it is a Roman Catholic tradition. It occurs every year on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (which kicks off Lent, a time of fasting/abstinence for spiritual cleansing and respect for Jesus' suffering on the cross, lasting until Easter) Typically occuring sometime in February or March, the turn of the new year usually kicks off with various Mardi Gras balls. The balls are in mock-wedding fashion with the court 'walking down the aisle' as they are presented. A King and Queen reins over the court. Tuxedo and Ball Gowns are worn by both court and guest. In order to attend, you must be invited by the organization putting on the ball.

But no invitation is needed for parades! Parades consists of floats sponsored by Krewes (organizations that puts on parades and/or balls) and business and marching bands from schools in the state. A variety of items are thrown from the parades to awaiting patrons but the most prominent is beaded necklaces. One might think it's silly to stand at the baracaded streets for hours in hopes of catching cheap plastic beads. And it is! But that's the point! The world is filled with heartache, disappointment, stress, hardship and all that can go wrong. We have responsibilities that make us all too serious the majority of the time. Mardi Gras is our time to be silly. It's a day when you can where whatever you want to can dress down, you can dress up or you can dress ridiculous. It doesn't matter, everyone's goal for the day is eat,drink and be merry......and collecting as many cheap plastic beads as you can! It is so exciting to feel the beads slide through your fingers and in the palm of your hand. Even more exciting if you can get the attention of a person riding on a float to throw you something 'special'. There is also a fair at Cajunfield in Lafayette with carnival rides and Downtown area has stages with bands. It is really a good time, for people of all ages. For those of you that live here but arean't really into Mardi Gras, least you get a day off!

Friday, February 25, 2011

2011 Acadiana Parade Schedule

February 26
Krewe des Chiens Parade
Downtown, Lafayette. Costume contest at noon, parade at 2 p.m.

Krewe of Carnivale en Rio Parada
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. Lafayette's newest krewe parades with spectacular new floats and nearly 600 riders armed with over 60 tons of the coolest collection of beads and throws. 337-984-6522,

February 27

Courir de Mardi Gras - Old-Fashion Mardi Gras Run
Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Rd., 10:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. Lafayette. The Basile Mardi Gras Association returns to stir up mischief and fun by bringing their country Mardi Gras to the city. On Sunday, they will bring many of their deep-rooted traditions including costumes and begging for gumbo ingredients in a tradition "run" through the historic village. After the run, gumbo will be available for purchase. Don't miss out on the king cake demonstration at 12:30 p.m. or the Lafayette Rhythm Devils performance that afternoon at 1 p.m. Adults - $8, Senior Citizens - $6.50, Children - $5, Under 6 yrs. - FREE, Memberships honored. AAA Members receive $1.00-OFF admission. 337-233-4077,

Scott Mardi Gras Parade
1 p.m. 337-269-5155

March 4

Friday Night Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. Featuring multiple krewes from the Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958,

March 4-8

Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette
Cajun Field, Lafayette. Presented by the Greater Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association, the festival includes an exciting carnival midway, native Cajun foods and an outstanding line-up of live entertainment. To make the festival a complete Mardi Gras experience, all of Lafayette?s parades roll through the festival grounds. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958,

March 5

Carencro Mardi Gras Parade
Downtown, Carencro. 11 a.m. Organized by the Carencro Mardi Gras Association, the parade begins at Carencro High School. 337-896-4147.

Children's Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 12:30 p.m. Featuring Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association children's krewes. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958,

Youngsville Mardi Gras Parade *the Real Estate GoGetters will be on a float in this parade! Let us know where you will be standing and we’ll try to throw you something!*
Public Works building to Fountain View, Youngsville. 1 p.m. 337-856-4181.

Krewe of Bonaparte Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 6:30 p.m. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958,

March 7 ~ Lundi Gras

Queen's Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 6 p.m. Celebrating Queen Evangeline and her Court. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958,

March 8 ~ Mardi Gras Day!

King's Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 10 a.m. Celebrating King Gabriel, who reigns over the Lafayette Mardi Gras. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958,

Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 1 p.m. Celebrating King Toussaint L'Ouverture and Queen Suzanne Simmone. 337-232-3737, 800-346-1958, www.Lafayette.Travel.

Fox 15 Independent Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 2 p.m. 337-237-1500,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What to look for in a buyer's agent

Excerpts from an article written By Reno Berkeley

Real estate agents may work exclusively with buyers or may switch between sellers and buyers, depending on preference. In some states, real estate agents must also work under a licensed broker. When you choose a buyer's agent, there are a number of things to look for to make your experience more pleasant and less stressful.

A Clear Cut Contract
Your buyer agent should offer you a contract that is clear and concise. Most agents do not require a retaining fee to work with you. The reason for this is because the agent will receive a percentage of the sales price from the selling agent. Some buyer's agents, however, do require a fee to work with you, and this should be delineated within the contract. The agent should also be upfront about any fees charged before you sign any paperwork. A fee or a lack thereof does not necessarily indicate an agent's skill or experience, and depending on your locale, a retainer may or may not be the norm.

Experience and Knowledge
A buyer agent should know how to do the following: locate and assess properties in your chosen price range, decide on the best offer amount based on fair market value, develop a negotiating strategy with you and prepare a purchase contract. Buyer agents should have your best interest in mind. Therefore, once a property is under contract, the buyer's agent should recommend the best home inspector for you if you don't already have one, and walk through the home herself to determine possible issues with the property.

Strong Credentials
•Buyer agents should have strong credentials that set them apart from uncertified agents or those without certain designations. For example, if you are looking for a home in a certain neighborhood, your best bet is to find an agent who is a neighborhood or residential specialist for that area. Most real estate agents are also Realtors. In order to be one, the agent must have a GRI designation, meaning "Graduate Realtor Institute." This entails more training and knowledge than agents who do not have this designation. Buyer agents who come with referrals from previous clients can also be a good indication of the level of service you will receive during your home search.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Become an educated buyer

This is an article By Rick Perkins
Stark County Asociation of Realtors
I wanted to add that as realtors we know that you want to do alot of research on your own, which is great! But you don't have to settle in dealing with whichever realtor is on the sign outside (the seller's realtor). You owe it to yourself to research realtors and find a buyer's agent who works for you, someone you trust. That buyer's agent can help you with any home on the market, regardless of what real estate company it's listed with, including for sale by owners. You just have to call your realtor first when you see something of interest. When visiting an open house, just be honest and let the seller's agent know that you have a realtor. Happy House Hunting!

With the prequalification and preapproval process behind you, now is the time to start doing your homework and taking some field trips. Consider using the remaining cold winter months to plan for your buying needs.

Become an educated buyer: Research neighborhoods, read ads and visit open houses.

If you were changing cities, the standard advice is to subscribe to the newspaper in the new town and start reading local news and classified ads to get a feeling for different neighborhoods. Although that is a good idea, you can simplify and streamline the house-hunting process by using the Internet to find a home, find a Realtor, find a neighborhood and find resources.

For local moves, you have the advantage of driving around neighborhoods that interest you and looking at lawn signs. Particularly on weekends, you will see “Open House” postings. Do not hesitate to visit open houses, as it is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the market.

Your Wish List

Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out what features you need, want and do not want in a home. Before starting your search, make a “wish list” to decide which features are essential, which are nice “extras,” if you happen to find them and which are completely undesirable.

The more specific you can be in what you want, the more effective your home search will be. Keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise. Create your own personalized “wish list” and when you are finished, share it with your Realtor-partner.

Is it close to your favorite spots?

Make a list of the activities — movies, health club, church, etc. — you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you are considering to engage in your most common activities.

Check out the school district. This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The Ohio Department of Education can provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in the neighborhoods you are considering.

Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type, such as burglaries or armed robberies, and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. In addition, is crime in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with the city’s economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments do not necessarily diminish value, but do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

See if you will make money. Ask your Realtor-partner to get information about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good of an investment your home will be. Your Realtor-partner also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood — like a new school or highway — that might affect value.

Make personal observations. Once you have narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there and walk around the area. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? How does it feel? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.

Buying a home can be one of life’s most exciting experiences — and one of the most challenging. The more prepared you are at the outset, the less overwhelming and the buying process will be.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, or if you are having trouble making your monthly mortgage payment contact a Realtor with the Stark County Association of Realtors. A Realtor will help you in the process from start to finish. Keep in mind, legal questions regarding real estate should be directed to an attorney

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Truth about the Real Estate Market

You can watch the national news and think that you know what the market in Acadiana is like based on that. But here are the real statistics for 2010:

The number of homes sold in 2010 compared to 2009 increased by 3.44%.

The average days on the market increased to 104 from 96.

The average sales price decreased -2.48% to $168,847.

The average list to sold price ratio was 96.42%, which is a .12 decrease.

Van Eaton & Romero ranked number one in the market on sold homes, beating out Coldwell Banker Pelican-it's closest competitor by double the dollar volume sales.

Top Five in 2010: Company, Transaction Sides, Dollar Volume
Van Eaton & Romero 1772.5 $344,230,899
Coldwell Banker 1005.0 $166,919,868
Keller Williams 524.5 $ 85,810,048
ERA Stirling 392.5 $ 66,276,899
Remax Acadiana 338.0 $ 54,978,825

Information provided by market analysis prepared by CEO of Van Eaton & Romero, Bill Bacque'. For a full market report, email

Data compiled from MLS sales only in all GEO areas, both listing and selling sides.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Questions to ask realtors you are interviewing:

Came across this article online last week and these are MY answers:

1. How long have you been a real-estate agent? As with any profession, experience matters. The more seasoned the agent, the better representation you're likely to get. Kisha: I’ve been a realtor since June of 2003, so almost eight years.

2. Do you sell homes part or full time? The real estate industry has its share of part-timers hoping to stumble onto a few home sales a year. If you're considering hiring a part-time real-estate agent, ask yourself: Am I confident this agent has tracked local activity closely enough to understand today's unpredictable market? Will he or she be able to give my home sale the time and attention it requires? Kisha: I am and always was a full time agent dedicating all my business time to real estate.

3. What training do you have? Has the agent earned industry designations or completed specialized training in areas like negotiation or working with first-time buyers? If not, think hard about whether the agent is dedicated enough to the profession to acquire and develop the skills necessary to succeed. Kisha: I am constantly and consistently continuing my education as a realtor. I not only take the mandated 12 hours required by the Real Estate Board of Commission but also have received the following designations by completing and passing courses as well as maintaining a level of production.
CRS Council of Residential Specialist
GRI Graduate of the Realtor Institute
SRS Seller Representative Specialist
ABR Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Certified in Green Real Estate Education

4. How many homes have you sold in the past month, quarter and year? Sales statistics are a quick way to gauge real-estate agents' competence. "I asked three agents for sales statistics from the last six months, because I didn't think the last month or quarter were fair to evaluate in this economy and my home's market," says Gordon. "The agent I chose sent me a spreadsheet showing his statistics and his company's, compared to others within the last two years." Kisha: I have statistics available upon request.

5. What's the average "days on market" for your listings? The best real-estate agents know their clients and market so well that they sell homes faster than their competitors. Ask agents for data that compares the average time it takes them to sell homes with the average time it takes all other agents in the local market. Kisha: I have statistics available upon request, tailored to your area since I service all of Acadiana, market conditions vary by area.

6. What will you do to market my home? There's a debate among real-estate agents over the value of traditional marketing tools like open houses and newspaper advertising versus website advertising and virtual tours. "I was looking for a well-rounded plan with print and website ads and Internet virtual tours, along with information on how agents would follow up based on what their web statistics told them," says Gordon. If you're not sure which marketing tools are best, ask agents which tools they think will sell your home, and why. Kisha: In the age of technology and internet, we are able to exposed our listings on a much broader range than print ads ever could. Therefore, we spend most of our time and money generating leads and interest through our website, affiliate websites, facebook and craiglist. Although our listings are still present in local print ads.

7. How will you keep me informed? A common complaint among consumers is that after they've hired a real-estate agent, there's radio silence. "That was my biggest problem," says Gordon. "I had to call the agent to call to find out information. This time, I specifically asked agents, 'How am I going to know what's going on?' The agent I chose told me he'd send me market statistics every week. I also told him I wanted to chat every six weeks to see what was selling in my home's market."
Gordon knows that she asked a lot of her real-estate agent, but she offers no apologies. "I probably drove this real-estate agent nuts," she says. "But I've been very active this second time around." Kisha: Radim does weekly reports for sellers that include number of showings, inquiries, website hits, new competing listings and sold comparables. This helps our seller stay on top of the market as it constantly changes. When we receive feedback from showings, he also sends the feedback. Everything is done electronically for fast convenient service.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Buying is cheaper than renting in most cities

Provided by Van Eaton & Romero:

(SAN FRANCISCO) – Research conducted by finds that buying a home is actually cheaper than renting in 36 of the country’s top 50 markets, and it’s about break-even in most of the others.

The company said its study showed that only in New York, Seattle, Kansas City and San Francisco is it cheaper to rent than buy.

"Since the start of the recession, many former homeowners have flooded the rental market. Following the principles of supply and demand, renting has become relatively more expensive than buying in most markets," said Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia.

The study was based on the cost of renting or buying a two-bedroom

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sales Tax on your Home~ correct information

Information from Van Eaton & Romero:

A 3.8 Percent “Sales Tax” on Your Home?

Q: Does the new health care law impose a 3.8 percent tax
on profits from selling your home?

A: No, with very few exceptions. The first $250,000 in
profit from the sale of a personal residence won’t be taxed,
or the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple. The
tax falls on relatively few — those with high incomes from
other sources.

The sort of people who would have to
pay the tax might include, for example:
■A single executive making $210,000 a year who sells his
$300,000 ski condo for a $50,000 profit. His tax on the sale
of that vacation home would amount to $1,900, in addition
to the capital gains tax he would have paid anyway.
■An "empty nester" couple with combined income of over
$250,000 a year who sell their $1 million primary residence
to move to smaller quarters. If they cleared $600,000 on the
sale, they would be taxed on $100,000 of the profit (the
amount over the half-million-dollar exclusion). Their health
care tax on the sale would amount to $3,800 over and
above the usual capital gains levy.

However, a typical home sale would not incur any tax. In
March, for example, half of all existing homes sold for
$170,700 or less, according to the National Association of
Realtors. Obviously, none of those sales could possibly
generate a $250,000 profit, and so none would be subject to
the tax.

Thus, for the vast majority, the 3.8 percent tax won’t apply.
The Tax Foundation, in a report released April 15, said the
new tax on investment income (including real estate) "will
hit approximately the top-earning two percent of families"
when it takes effect in 2013.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lafayette LA

Found the following info online....great history and info!

Introduction to Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette is located in the southern central part of Louisiana, at the intersection of Highways 10 and 49. It is the fourth largest city in Louisiana and is the only major city in Louisiana that has grown in population since the year 2000. Lafayette resides in an area called Acadiana, which is known as the Cajun Heartland, and is the unofficial Cajun Capitol of the south. Lafayette lies 15 miles west of the Atchafalaya Basin and 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by bayous, swamps and marshes along with forests and prairies. The city got its name in 1844 when it was named after the French Marquis de Lafayette.

Lafayette has a history almost as colorful as the history of the state of Louisiana, which actually was governed by 10 different flags from the period of time beginning 1541 until 1803 when it became a possession of the United States. The rich French heritage of Lafayette was mainly due to "Le Grand Derangement" in 1755. That year, thousands of French Canadians were forced from their homes because they refused to renounce their Catholic religion for the Anglican Church and pledge allegiance to the British flag. More than half of the Acadians lost their lives as their homes and crops were burned by the British and they floundered at sea. Most of the survivors ended up in Louisiana after the King of Spain allowed them to settle in South Louisiana. They eventually ended up in the areas around Lafayette, where they could raise their own crops and fish and trap according to their traditions. Thus, the Cajun culture was born. Interestingly, the word Cajun originated when the French of noble ancestry would call the Acadians "le Cadiens", dropping the "A". Later, the Americans who could not pronounce "Cadien" shortened the term and just called them "Cajuns". These Cajun people were known for their unique culture. They are deeply religious, hard working but enthusiastic and fun people. Their food, spicy and flavorful, became famous throughout the country and still is a favorite among the visitors of the "Bayou Country".

In 1803, Louisiana had become a part of the United States. President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with Napoleon because of the region's importance to the trade and security of the American mid-west. Much of the produce of the mid-west traveled down the Mississippi River so this area became vital for America. The fertility of the land in this region gave rise to important crops such as sugar and cotton, making the planters of Lafayette some of the richest in America. After the Civil War, sulfur was discovered in 1869 and oil was discovered in 1901. Now Louisiana has become one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas in the country.

Lafayette Points of Interest

Lafayette has a strong tourism industry, attracted by the wonderful Cajun food of this region. It has more restaurants per capita of any city in the entire area. The city has a thriving arts community, consisting of theatre, visual arts, and especially music. Cajun music is a combination of bluegrass and French with a little European folk music thrown in. Almost every weekend, there is a music, dance or street festival and the city is known for its great Mardi Gras celebrations when Lafayette explodes with color and wild costumes.

Because of its year-long warm climate, Lafayette is known as "The Sportsman's Paradise". The bayous and swamps are great places for canoe rides and the fishing is very popular. In addition, there are championship golf courses nearby and lots of hiking and biking trails to explore. The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns is the team name of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1960, the name referred only to the football team which was formerly called the Bulldogs, but now the name refers to all the sports of the university, including basketball and baseball. And, since 2003, Lafayette is home to the Lafayette Bayou Bulls, its semi pro football team.

Lafayette has a diversified and interesting college life. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the largest campus within the eight-campus University of the Louisiana System and the second largest university in Louisiana. It is recognized mostly for its excellence in computer science and its graduate courses in environmental biology. In addition, Lafayette is home to the South Louisiana Community College and the Louisiana Technical College at Lafayette.

Located only 135 miles from New Orleans, Lafayette is a popular destination for tourists looking for the flavor of New Orleans; the food, music and festivals rival its famous neighbor and the warm climate is perfect for a relaxing southern vacation. As the Cajuns say, ""Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez", or "Let the Good Times Roll!"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Treat Everyone with Respect

I read the article below and it saddens me to know that we have people in this society who do not stop to help the elderly nor speak to the elderly (or anyone for that matter) with the respect that they (we) all deserve. Remember that no matter how your day is going or how much in a rush you may be in, your smile or kind words will lift some one's spirits and will have a domino effect. You never know who you are speaking to. We shouldn't adjust our common manners according to some one's age, color or social status. But I see it happen everyday. There is a place for everyone in society and blue collared jobs are just as important as white collared jobs. We need all types of people and workers to make this country run well. We also need each other and need to be treated with respect, we are all in this together.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Throwback to 1956

The following information was extracted from a column written by Floyd Knott published in the Teche News:

Sayings from 1956:

"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for ten dollars."

"If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit smoking. Twenty cents a pack is ridiculous"

"Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $1,000 will only buy a used one."

"I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open a whole lot of foreign business."

"When I first started driving, who would have thought that gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon?"

"Did you hear that the post office is thinking about charging seven cents just to mail a letter?"

"If they raise the minimum wage to $1, no one will be able to hire outside help at the store."

"Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president."

"No one can afford to be sick anymore. At $15 a day in the hospital it's too rich for my blood."

"If they think I'll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it"

"I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more ever since they let Clark Gable say "damn" in Gone with the Wind."

"The drive in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on."

"I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. they even say some fellows they call astronauts are preparing for it down in Texas."

"I never thought I'd see the day when all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now."

"It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where some married women have to work to make ends meet. It won't be long before young couples are going to have hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work. "

"Thank goodness I won't live to see they day when the government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to govern."

I would love to hear any thoughts/comments. Which is your favorite? I wonder what those people would have thought if someone told them THEN what it's like NOW.