Who are the people involved in a real estate transaction?

Here’s a nice infographic that was designed by National Positions and Education Location giving a lot of good information on the people involved in a real estate transaction. It’s a pretty complete list except they left out the attorneys. In Louisiana, they are known as title attorneys or closing companies and their role is to make sure the legal documents are complete and executed properly.

Your Realtor is the glue that holds it all together. Some people have compared us to orchestra conductors or even the quarterback.

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Why do Realtors get paid so much to sell my house?

I am asked this question pretty regularly. Or something like, Wow, you’re getting rich just off selling my house! Take a look at the infographic below. Theses are typical expenses and dollar values and it’s not the same for every house. But it does give a pretty good representation of how real estate commissions work. Oh, and by the way, I like to call it a success fee, I’m not paid unless I successfully sell your home.

Why Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid So Much Money to Sell My House?

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
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Top 10 Reasons to hire a Real Estate Agent

Infographics seem to be all of the rage right now and rightly so, they present information in a graphical way that makes it easy to get small pieces of useful information quickly.

So here are the top 10 reasons to hire a real estate agent, preferably a Realtor with a CRS credential (CRS = Certified Residential Specialist) to help you with your next transaction.

Thanks to Jensen and Co. Realtors for preparing this.

Top 10 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Agent - Infographic

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Considering a move to Baton Rouge?

If you are considering moving to Baton Rouge read this article from Brendan Spiegelfeb from the New York Times.


36 Hours in Baton Rouge, La.


New York Times

Jennifer Zdon for The New York Times
 Louisiana’s capital has neither the nonstop party scene nor the obvious cultural charm of its more celebrated neighbor to the southeast, yet this laid-back Mississippi River town offers a unique appeal. The French, Spanish, Creole and Cajun influences of its three-century history blend with the youthful spirit of Louisiana State University’s nearly 30,000 students, stewing up a Southern mélange that’s on full display during Baton Rouge’s own Mardi Gras celebrations, through March 1, as well as events like the Baton Rouge Blues Festival (April 12). Along rural roads and in revitalized downtown neighborhoods, inside strip malls and by industrial sites, this unheralded city reveals a dynamic musical heritage and rich culinary history that demand to be discovered.


1. Blues Clues | 4 p.m.

Hidden along a down-on-its-heels stretch just north of downtown, Buddy Stewart Memorial Music Foundation & Rhythm Museum provides a decidedly lowbrow look at the city’s musical history. The sparse, cafeteria-like room is lined with makeshift exhibitions about the band leader Buddy Stewart and local legends like Lazy Lester and Raful Neal. But the real gem is the vintage record collection housed two doors down, separated by a barbershop and behind a sign that reads “Tax Services” — also apparently available here; the shop is overflowing with 45s and 12-inch records from Louisiana bluesmen.

2. High Art | 6 p.m.

Transition to a much tonier cultural scene at the 125,000-square-foot Shaw Center for the Arts, the showpiece of a revitalized downtown. The center covers a full city block, encompassing the Manship Theater, where everyone from Branford Marsalis to high school jazz bands have gigs coming up; the LSU Museum of Art, where an exhibition opening March 8 will look at how jazz and the blues influenced Harlem Renaissance artists; and several smaller theaters, galleries and restaurants. During happy hour, Tsunami, a sushi restaurant with a sixth-floor terrace, is popular for sake cocktails ($6) and preshow sunsets.

3. Down to Business | 9 p.m.

Restaurant IPO caters to the downtown business crowd, but the atmosphere is more West Village than Wall Street, with exposed brick, unfinished industrial walls and cypress wood furniture. The “Southern tapas” menu offers savory items like deviled eggs mixed with crayfish and tasso — a peppery smoked pork regional specialty — and topped by crispy, batter-fried oysters. Larger plates like pan-roasted Gulf fish are also successful; dinner for two runs $100.


4. Pancakes and Pork | 9 a.m.

A popular food truck turned brick-and-mortar spot, GoYaYa’s Crepes operates from a stand at the Main Street Market, a collection of local food businesses organized inside a downtown parking garage. Thin, crispy pancakes are stuffed with inventive options like Vietnamese-style shredded pork with bean sprouts ($7.50), plus seasonal specials such as pulled pork and peaches, matching what’s ripe at the year-round Saturday morning Red Stick Farmers Market (redstickfarmersmarket.org), held just outside the building.

5. Artisan Central | 11 a.m.

A scrap metal dragon and giant mermaid guard the exterior of Circa 1857, an art, antiques and architectural salvage store surrounded by many dozens of pieces from a self-taught welding artist named Joseph Jilbert. Take home something smaller, like a Master Lock tree frog ($100), then explore the rest of the artsy multistore compound. Shop for upscale crafts items like a driftwood bird’s nest chandelier ($1,025) at Mosaic Garden (mosaicgarden.biz); listen to banjo music over sweet tea at Yvette Marie’s Cafe (bonannos.com); and browse reworked vintage jewelry and dish towel aprons ($22) at My Louise (225-448-2093).

6. Fish Fry | 1 p.m.

“Swimming on This End. Fried on the Other End,” reads the sign at Tony’s Seafood Market & Deli where fresh specimens are pulled out of the catfish tank on one side of the store and served on po’boys ($6.49) at the other. If you’re averse to the popular option of parking lot dining here, hop back in the car and take your lunch to the grassy lawn fronting the Louisiana State Capitol Building. For dessert: a view from the 27th floor of America’s tallest state capitol, gazing down at the surrounding gardens and historic houses of colorful Spanish Town, home to Baton Rouge’s Mardi Gras festivities.

7. Art in the Park | 3 p.m.

Head over to another urban green space — the 154-acre City-Brooks Community Park, where the Baton Rouge Gallery Center for Contemporary Art is set in the park’s 1920s-era former pool house. An artists’ cooperative, the space showcases everything from experimental video art to spoken word. Stroll on to the area known as Perkins Road Overpass, where independent boutiques and dining spots are clustered around an Interstate off-ramp. Sip exceptional pour-over coffee at Magpie Cafe, then browse Louisiana history and other rare tomes at Cottonwood Books.

8. Louisiana-Style Pizza | 6 p.m.

Yes, it does exist — and locals wouldn’t trade it for a lifetime’s worth of thin-crust Neapolitan slices. Fleur de Lis Pizza, a third-generation family-run business housed in a former cocktail lounge with a neon-lighted exterior, has been serving secret-recipe rectangular pies since the 1940s. The “round the world” pizza ($13 for a large) incorporates anchovies, Italian sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, salami and onions into a gooey, extra-cheesy pie — crisp and greasy on the bottom, blistery on top. Waits on weekends can be up to an hour; stave off hunger with a pickled egg plucked from the jar on the bar ($1).

9. Hunting for Tunes | 9 p.m.

Finding this city’s live music scene can take some legwork, but when you do track down an authentic gig, it’s something special indeed. Occupying a former tavern in a less-than-desirable stretch of town, Red Dragon Listening Room is a nonprofit venue where mismatched couches and church pews face a modest stage hosting folk acts. Cover is usually around $20; the entire amount goes to performers. Down a gravel road just outside town, Teddy’s Juke Joint is a blues-lovers’ twisted fairy tale covered in the sheen of Christmas lights and a glittery disco ball. It’s the kind of place where waitresses hand out gratis Styrofoam cartons of turkey wings because the piano man is celebrating his 88th birthday; and where Teddy, the cowboy-hat-and-cape-clad owner, will serenade you from the D.J. booth, then wax poetic about how he was born right here in this room.


10. Serious Dough | 9 a.m.

Hung-over college students and hungry families alike flock to breakfast at Coffee Call, a local institution set in an unsuspecting strip mall. Pillowy beignets ($2.20 for three) are buried in mounds of powdered sugar and enjoyed best when dipped in a steaming mug of café au lait. For a more modern take on fried dough, head to a farther-out strip mall where Jeff Herman, a recent Louisiana State University grad, opened Tiger Deaux-nuts in 2012, dreaming up creative flavors like bananas foster, vanilla-jalapeño and maple-bacon.

11. Geaux-ing Out | 11 a.m.

Work off some of that breakfast with a stroll through Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, a 103-acre stretch of land where elevated boardwalks wind through cypress and tupelo trees, and hundreds of bird species can be spotted (admission, $3). Continue to the LSU Rural Life Museum, a former plantation where more than 30 preserved historic buildings brought here from across rural Louisiana showcase the state’s wide range of vernacular architecture (admission, $9).

12. River Boat | 2 p.m.

Head back downtown and venture on board the U.S.S. Kidd & Veterans Memorial, a 2,050-ton World War II destroyer now on the riverfront. Children especially enjoy crawling across the quarterdeck and through the ship’s well-preserved interior (admission, $8). If there’s still money left in your pocket, hop one vessel over and close out your weekend with blackjack aboard the riverboat portion of Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel.

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Should real estate agent ratings data be released to consumers?

house.jpgThere is some discussion going on in the Real Estate industry about whether real estate agent ratings data should be released to the public. The theory is that the public would be able to use that data to make a better selection when choosing their agent.

I have not seen the exact type of data that is being discussed but I would imagine it would be things like number of listings vs. number of listings sold, number of days on the market, average sales price and sales price to list price ratio.

This information is readily available to Realtors but not to consumers just yet. I guess it’s just a matter of time before it is.

What other professionals other than sports do we have detailed stats on? Doctors, Attorneys, Accountants and what about Stock Brokers? Do we really have the same information related to their fields? I’m not saying it’s the same, but it is something to think about.

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I’m buying a newly constructed home – should I use a Realtor?

Logo of the National Association of Realtors.

Logo of the National Association of Realtors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are buying new construction, chances are the builder will have a Realtor representing him to help him market the home and to take care of all the details while he or she concentrates on building the home. That Realtor represents the builder’s interests primarily but could also become a dual agent and represent a buyer too. This is ok but what you really want is your own Realtor who is only representing you.

One of the key advantages to having your own Realtor is that your agent will negotiate on

your behalf and maintain the most powerful tool a buyer has: The willingness to impartially advise a buyer to walk away from a deal that is not in the buyer’s interests. That negotiating tactic may not be as effective when a Realtor is representing both the buyer and seller.

Plus it doesn’t cost you anymore to have your very own Realtor.

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Avoid the three most common tree planting mistakes.

A tree planted incorrectly will at best be under stress and at worst be headed for an early death. Avoid problems by following these tips.

Tree Planting Mistakes

The root ball of the tree

The Root Ball
Before planting, cut through the side of the root ball at four equidistant spots, then cut an X at the bottom. This will prevent roots from circling around and eventually girdling the tree.

Tree base

Tree Base
Planted too deeply, a tree can develop rot and insect problems. Make sure the root flare—a slight tapering at the base—still shows after planting.

Mulching around tree base

When mulching, think “doughnut,” not “volcano.” The former ensures that mulch is not piled up against the bark, where it can cause moisture and insect problems. It also directs water toward the roots, rather than away from them.

originally posted by Lowe’s


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Home Buyers – Is it too late?

English: House at 1936 Maplewood Drive in the ...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Home Buyers, I hear some of you are getting a little nervous about the real estate market. I am hearing questions like, “Did I miss my chance?”, or “Since interest rates are going up, will I be able to afford to buy a home?”.

I get it, most people I know like to feel like they “got a deal”. People also like to talk at parties about how low their interest rate is or how good of a negotiator they are. I know I’ve been there. You may not be buying at rock-bottom prices, but there are a couple of compelling reasons why I think it’s not too late to buy a home.

1. Even interest rates in the 4.5% range are so incredibly low when you look at it historically. Many people can recall the double-digit mortgage interest rates of the past.

2. Although prices for homes are going up they still have not fully recovered to the levels they were just a few years ago. There are still bargains out there and depending on your market and price range there is still quite a bit of housing inventory to choose from which will definitely help your Realtor negotiate the best possible deal for you.

So if you’ve been thinking of buying a home, don’t put it off any longer. Give your Realtor a call and don’t miss out on opportunities available now


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Why you may want to consider using a professional real estate agent

I saw this on the Floyd Wickman blog and thought it made the case for using a real estate agent pretty well. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the Greater Baton Rouge area, give it a quick read then give me a call.

What Makes A Real Estate Professional Indispensable?

Answering Some Important Questions 

by Mike Pallin

Will there always be a need for real estate agents? Will consumers always be willing to pay full commission for the services of a real estate professional? Just what makes a real estate professional indispensable?

These are timely questions to be asking right now. Why?


Real estate has had a good, long run in the free enterprise system, but nothing lasts. Just ask a former travel agent. Or the former owner of a record store or bookstore.

AND ALSO BECAUSE…                                                                    

Real estate is one of the few (if not the only) professional, regulated service industries where fees are negotiable. We don’t bargain with our dentist or accountant or massage therapist over fees. But consumers have always known that real estate fees are flexible, and negotiable.

For the do-it-yourselfer, it’s possible to clean your own teeth, do your own taxes or put liniment on sore muscles. And it’s possible to sell a house by owner, or buy a house without using an agent. Certainly the internet has changed the availability of information that used to be the exclusive province of real estate professionals. Everything from Legalzoom.com to Zillow makes it easier every day for consumers to think they can put together a real estate deal by themselves.

GOOD NEWS…                                                                              

For those who wonder whether or not there is a future for real estate professionals, the encouraging news is that the percentage of Realtor-assisted transactions rose dramatically last year, mostly because the percentage of people selling by owner fell dramatically.

But the question remains. What does the future hold for real estate professionals? Do we still have a career opportunity?

I believe this is a chapter that is being written as we speak, and the real question is, who is doing the writing?


The quick answer is that there might not always be a need for real estate agents, but I do believe there will always be a need for salespeople who can sell real estate.

I don’t believe there is a long-term, full commission future for real estate hobbyists; or part-time agents; or those who are under-educated and not current in their skills.

More than ever, consumers demand complete, up-to-date, honest and transparent information. Consumers demand professional, timely communication skills and tools. Consumers demand more than just data, they want to know what the data means. They demand zealous advocacy and clear advice. And they want a peaceful, positive experience.

Putting a real estate deal together has never been more complex, but getting it to closing has become REALLY problematic. So a key to viability and value is the ability of a real estate professional to not just orchestrate the transaction, but to solve problems without involving the consumer in the drama.


By creating a positive, memorable buying or selling experience for the consumer, the real estate professional takes the value of their services beyond being just a commodity, and enters the territory of building community.

But in addition to mastering the mechanics of getting a transaction to closing, the future real estate professional must become the master of building trust relationships.

When the consumer knows for sure that we are not just “one and done,” but we intend to be part of their life, a trusted advisor, a personal resource, a protector of their rights, a dependable friend – that’s when “we” (the real estate professionals) will have lasting value, and a viable business forever.

And how to go about transforming ourselves and our services in this way? Floyd Wickman says it best in his Core Values: “To always make my client’s #1 goal, my #1 goal. To always be willing to work toward a common good. And to always do what I say I will do, sometimes more, just never less.”


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Real Estate to Gain Home Inspector Oversight in Miss.?


In Mississippi, a bill is moving through the state legislature that would give the real estate industry sole oversight over home inspectors. The bill has already passed the Senate unanimously and is pending in the House.

“Those most interested in home sales going through would be regulating and licensing those who are supposed to warn consumers to walk away from a sale if they find major problems,” reports The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) about concerns expressed over the bill.

Mississippi’s government regulation of its home-inspection industry reportedly is in shambles with consumer complaints about home inspections rising but being ignored. The Home Inspector Board in the state, which is charged with handling the complaints and regulating the industry, hasn’t met since 2010 and its members have quit, The Clarion-Ledger reports.

The bill proposes abolishing the Home Inspectors Board and moving the licensing and regulation of home inspectors under the state Real Estate Commission.

“We have to do something,” says Sen. Gary Jackson, R-French Camp, the bill’s author. “It may not be the best solution, and I can see the fox-henhouse questions. But something had to be done, and we welcome input from home inspectors to come up with other solutions.”

The state has some of the most stringent requirements for home inspectors in the nation. In Mississippi, home inspectors must be licensed home contractors and “code certified” in at least one field. The requirements are tougher than they are for those who build houses, and the stringent regulations have severely limited the number of licensed home inspectors in the state, reports The Clarion-Ledger.

Source: “Bill Would Turn Over Home Inspection Oversight to Real Estate Industry,” The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) (Feb. 16, 2013)

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