Lafayette, LA Real Estate Blog

Lafayette, LA Real Estate Blog

Teresa Hamilton & Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 350

Twelve Under $200k

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

118 Meagans Way Drive in Village at Copperwood

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,490 sq ft



102 Pear Tree Circle in Broussard Village

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,386 sq ft



1304 E Bayou Parkway #7A in Beau Rivage Crossing

1 Bed/ 1.5 Bath/ 925 sq ft



200 Wallingsford Circle in Copperfield

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,632 sq ft



103 Range Drive in Sawgrass Park

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,294 sq ft



1149 Atchafalaya River Hwy  (Camp)

1 Bed/ 1.5 Bath/ 870 sq ft



108 Quiet Meadows Circle in Copper Meadows

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,472 sq ft



103 Elise Drive in Village at Copperwood

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,353 sq ft



183 Steiner Road #220 in Stone Throw Townhouses

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,340 sq ft



414 Cheyenne Circle in Westgate

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 2,256 sq ft



326 Guilbeau Road #237 in Camellia Condos

2 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 895 sq ft



121 Peak Valley Street in Highland Ridge

3 Bed/ 2 Bath/ 1,710 sq ft




*Prices are subject to possible change

You don't have to rent your investment property forever.

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Renting your investment property is just the start. 

From the very beginning of our investment adventures, my husband Brian and I viewed the entire process as part of our retirement plan. Although we have funds in the stock market, for us, owning tangible property is significantly less stressful than the bear and bull cycles.

By beginning early enough, your rental income will eventually pay off the note on your property and move you into positive cash flow. At this point, you have options. You can choose to continue collecting rent, offer your tenants owner financing to purchase the property from you or sell the home outright.

If you decide to stop renting, you may benefit from the home’s increased value. At this stage, you’re free of insurance and maintenance costs. And with owner financing you’ll collect interest income, as well. 

All your effort at maintaining the home throughout its life as a rental makes a lot of sense when your goal is to eventually liquidate this asset for your retirement. All that care may help increase its value. As an owner without a mortgage you have the luxury of selling when market conditions are right. There’s no panic situation and you’re in the driver’s seat.

For Brian and I, real estate investment has become a sound business venture–and after all my years of selling real estate, I know it’s the one I can trust.

Four Simple Tips for Would-Be Landlords

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Four Simple Tips for Would-Be Landlords

So you've found some great investment properties and you're ready to become a landlord.  Congratulations! You are on your way to a profitable future.

But before you begin running those ads seeking tenants, here are 4 tips from my husband Brian's 20 years of success:

1) Start with a good lease.

By establishing the ground rules for your relationship with a renter in a written, legal document you'll be well prepared for the pitfalls that catch other landlords off guard.  Work with an attorney (to include things like late fees or a waiver of the tenant's right to notice of eviction) to ensure your lease follows the letter of the law. 

2) Do a credit check and a background check on prospects. 

These are easier to do than you might think since much of this can be done online, or turn to a third party to handle this part.  Taking the time to do this will weed out about 90% of the bad tenants.  (Monthly income equal to three times the amount of the rent is a good rule of thumb for determining their ability to pay.)

3) Be realistic and honor your responsibilities.

Occasionally payments are late.  Learn to be accommodating (as long as they are communicating with you), but never let a tenant go more than a month on a delayed payment.  When they stop communicating, it's a bad sign.  Similarly, respond promptly when they call about needed repairs.  This protects your investment and keeps your renters happy.  Regular inspections of the home or a simple drive-by to confirm the lawn is being cared for are good ways to confirm you have a good tenant. 

4) Work toward a break-even cash flow. 

Remember, your goal is to maintain the property until the mortgage is paid off.  If your rent is offsetting the cost of your mortgage plus the cost of maintenance, even if you're only breaking even, you'll be in good shape. 

The growth in property values over time historically makes for excellent return on your investment. 

Call me!  I'm happy to answer your questions.

NEXT MONTH:  Selling your investment properties.

Interested in Real Estate Investing?

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Selecting a good rental property for investing

If you’re ready to make the leap and become a real estate investor, follow a few basic rules that have served me well and should work for you, too.

1.  The old real estate adage “location, location, location” is true. By selecting properties in the central parts of Lafayette Parish, you’ll increase the number of prospects who will be interested in your rental. 

2.  Search for single-family detached properties. Townhomes and condos rarely have the yard that many people want, either for their children or their pets. By only investing in single-family detached homes, you’ll appeal to more renters. 

3.  Stick with three-bedroom homes. Single parents with kids often need three bedrooms, and even though the square footage may be small, having three bedrooms can solve a lot of other issues such as needs for storage or an office space.

4.  Pay attention to the school district. Many families searching for a rental are focused on keeping their children in a specific school district. District boundary lines have recently changed, so check with the Lafayette Parish School System to confirm.

5.  Watch out for association fees. Some neighborhoods have association fees, so you’ll want to consider those additional costs when making your purchasing decisions.

6.  Don’t be afraid of making a few improvements. Simple adjustments such as painting kitchen cabinets that are in good shape can make a world of difference. Remember, you’re protecting your investment.

Currently, my rule of thumb for staying viable in our market is to price my rentals in the $675 - $1,500 range. You’ll want to do the math to ensure that the total cost of your property’s mortgage plus expenses allows you stay in that category.

Take advantage of my 20-plus years of investing experience (not to mention decades as Acadiana’s top real estate agent and leader of the top real estate team). By taking care of the home and staying on top of its maintenance, you’ll help ensure that when you are ready to sell it one day, you’ll be in the best position to do so. 

That’s when you’ll see the payoff on your investment.

How to make Real Estate investing numbers work

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

How to make Real Estate investing numbers work.

How much money do you need to become a real estate investor? Probably less than you think. Having really good credit is a critical factor.  In fact, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, it would be smart to buy your first home with the intention of turning it into a rental. (You'd ideally live in it for at least two years — to avoid capital gains tax — while you save for your next home.) 

If you're past that point, here's what you need to get started:

1.  Down payment/closing costs (your Realtor® can estimate this number for you)

2.  Cash to cover three months’ worth of notes (estimated amount of time without a tenant)

3.  Cash to cover insurance, taxes, and maintenance of the property (here is where you really need to do some math)

Your fixed costs — insurance and property taxes — are fairly easy to estimate. Remember, should you do any major renovations to the property your property taxes could increase. 

Maintenance estimates should include electricity and water/sewer (to cover your months without a tenant) and repairs. Note that your repair costs will likely be experienced in the first few months of ownership, so a cushion for this is important. 

When calculating your mortgage remember that investors typically pay 1.75 percent more in interest than owner-occupied properties. But at today's rates, you're still in good shape. 

Since my husband and I began investing in 1997, the longest it has taken us to lease a residential property has been three months. Your success may vary. My advice? Remember this is an investment and you can be content with breaking even. Your payout comes later (historically, property values increase over time) when you eventually sell the property. 

NOTE: This article is intended for informational purposes only regarding the Acadiana area real estate market and does not represent a solicitation or an endorsement.  For tax advice, seek the services of a CPA or tax professional. 

Fed Rate Hike: How Is It Affecting Your Purchasing Power?

by Cheryl Spies and Richard Haase
“Now is the time to move forward with purchasing or selling a home before rates increase again. Two more increases are anticipated in 2017.”
There has been a lot of press on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates at their March meeting. For the second time in three months, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate a quarter point.

The Fed Funds Rate is the “overnight” rate–the shortest possible term used by banks to borrow. Mortgage loans are dictated by rates on longer-term bonds (specifically, “mortgage-backed-securities” or “MBS”).  These bonds are moving up and down every day whereas the Fed Funds Rate, the one that was changed on March 15th, has only changed 2 times in nearly 9 years.

A rate hike does not guarantee that mortgage rates are going up. However, the rate hike this time comes at a time when the interest on a 10-year Treasury Bond is in fact rising.  Mortgage rates are closely tied to the 10-year note, which has been climbing at a rapid rate since the presidential election.

So what will happen to mortgage interest rates in the near term?

Because the job market is good with unemployment considered low (5%), and the stock market has been strong, the interest rate climate for the near future looks to be one of rising mortgage interest rates. The Federal Reserve has indicated that they anticipate two more increases this year. They don’t say how much or when of course, but only that they will rise. The more likely and more frequent the market sees Fed rate hikes, the more mortgage rates (and other longer-term rates) will move up. 

It’s easy to be confused right now

In anticipation of the recent increase, the markets “baked in” raises in the mortgage rates. In fact, they appear to have anticipated a larger increase than what they got on March 15th, so the rates actually improved somewhat.  

Mortgage rates rose over 10 times since March 1, 2017

This brings them very close to highest levels in 3 years.  The most common conventional 30-year fixed note is easily up to 4.375% with a growing number of lenders moving up to 4.5%.  A year ago, 30-year fixed rates averaged 3.68%.  On a $200,000 loan amount, the difference in payment between 3.68% and 4.375% is $80.26/month or more to the consumer.

By Cheryl Spies, President of Essential Mortgage Corporation and Richard Haase, President of Latter & Blum Inc.

Interested in Real Estate Investing?

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Is 2017 your year to start real estate investing?

You’ve toyed with the idea for several years because you have a friend who is doing it: buying properties as an investment. So, is it your year to start?

Now is an excellent time to begin while mortgage interest rates are still low.

My husband Brian and I started investing in 1997 with the purchase of one small home. Because of my experience in residential real estate, I could identify properties that held potential as good rentals – and so began our experience as landlords. 

Over time, buying one or two homes per year, we peaked at 25 properties. With each purchase, we were only concerned about breaking even – because our long-term goal was investment for our retirement – not a monthly profit. 

Now, 20 years later, with all of those mortgages paid off, that strategy has resulted in some handsome profits when we sell them. 

But the life of a landlord is not for sissies!

Here are the questions you should ask yourself about your personality:

• Are you the kind of person who can deal with the public (tenants)?

• Are you organized? 

• Do you have the persistence to handle repairs and coordinate repairmen?

Will you have the commitment to maintain the property so the value is there when you’re ready to sell? 

If you answered yes to each of those questions, congratulations! You have the core traits necessary for success. Remember, this is not a hobby; it’s a new business. 

Stayed tuned as I continue to share tips and advice that Brian and I have learned along the way. 

2017 could be your year! 



Mortgage Loans 101

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Buying a home, especially for the first time, can be confusing. Like most out there, financing a home is necessary, but figuring out which loan suits you best can be intimidating. Here are some brief explanations on mortgage loans.


Conventional loans are not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. A down payment of at least 10% is likely, though some lenders might allow a down payment as low as 5%.


An FHA or Federal Housing Administration Loan is guaranteed by the federal government insuring the lender against losses that might result from borrower default. This program allows you to make a down payment as low as 3.5%, making it ideal for first time home buyers who aren’t ready to put down a large lump sum.


A loan program offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for military service members and their families. The biggest advantage of this program is that borrowers can receive 100% financing.


This program is managed by the Rural Housing Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, and is offered to “rural residents” who have a steady, modest income.


Fixed-Rate mortgage loans have the same interest rate for the entire repayment. Your monthly payment will always be the same.


Adjustable Rate mortgage loans (ARMs) have an introductory interest rate, that is typically lower than a fixed rate mortgage, that lasts for a period of time and adjusts annually thereafter for the remaining time period. Your interest rate will then change and so will your monthly payment.


Acadiana is full of great mortgage lenders who would be more than happy to help with your home loan or answer your questions!


Dare to Depersonalize

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

There are some easy steps to get your home sold quicker just by depersonalizing.


  • It’s easier to imagine one’s own space

A dramatic décor with bold prints and patterns is definitely unique, but someone who wants a brighter, calmer décor might be too distracted to even picture their own style. It’s amazing how design and décor completely change a home.


  • Makes the home look less lived in

Those family photos on the refrigerator are so special to you, but a potential buyer wants the house to be less your home and more theirs. They’re not visiting.


  • Makes the home look less aged

Trends come and go, just like that Forest Green color that was really something in the ‘90s! Painting with a neutral palette will hide a home’s age.


Consider toning down a paint choice, removing that animal print rug, and storing family photos to make a home more appealing to potential buyers.

Home Insurance and Dogs

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Your dog part of the family. He gives you  love, companionship, and sometimes destroys things. If your furry friend damages items that don’t belong to you, like your neighbors’, or bites the mailman, you should be covered through your home insurance.

According to the CDC, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and the average cost of 1 dog bite claim was around $37k in 2015,  according to the Insurance Information Institution.

There are certain dog breeds that are considered “risky” or “aggressive” and are blacklisted from most policies. Some of the breeds include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Dobermans
  • German Shepards
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Akitas
  • Chow Chows
  • Great Danes


Although these “aggressive” breeds are not covered through most home insurance policies, you can search for separate pet liability insurance, which covers the cost of damage, injury, or death caused by a pet.


So if your sweet, little pooch gets a little overprotective,  or gets a little destructive, don’t fret, you’re covered!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 350

Contact Information

Photo of Teresa Hamilton & Team Real Estate
Teresa Hamilton & Team
Van Eaton & Romero Realtors, A Latter & Blum Company
2000 Kaliste Saloom, Suite. 101
Lafayette LA 70508
Direct: 337-267-4048
Cell: 337-739-0425
Fax: 337-267-4118

Please LIKE us on FaceBook at

Van Eaton & Romero Realtors, A Latter & Blum Company
2000 Kaliste Saloom, Suite 101 - Lafayette, LA 70508
Licensed in Louisiana