Lafayette, LA Real Estate Blog

Lafayette, LA Real Estate Blog

Teresa Hamilton & Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 347

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!

Buying For Your UL Lafayette Student

by Teresa Hamilton & Team

Starting college is always an overwhelming time and housing is one of the biggest worries and biggest costs.


More parents and students are opting to purchase starter homes to use while in school that serve as investment opportunities as well as housing security. Extra bedrooms can be rented out, and you’d never have to worry about searching for an apartment each year.


For students at UL Lafayette, there are several properties in the area for under $200k that range from cute townhouses to older fixer uppers that would suit any student.


If you’re on the hunt, check out these 4 listings-


6 Townhouse Cove

2 Bedrooms & 2 ½ Baths $154,900*

6 Townhouse Cove front.jpg


213 Driftwood Drive

3 Bedrooms & 2 Baths $153,900*



326 Guilbeau Road #105

1 Bedroom & 1 ½ Baths 59,900*

326 Guilbeau front.JPG


506 Verline Drive

3 Bedroom & 2 Baths $171,000*


If you’re sending your student off, and you’re interested, give us a call and we’ll help you find the perfect property!



*Price is subject to possible change

4th of July Events Around Acadiana

by Teresa Hamilton & Team


As the 4th of July approaches, we wanted to help you make the perfect family plans. These are our favorite events (although one is not exactly in Acadiana) that have something for everyone!


  1. Independence Celebration of Sugar Mill Pond- Sunday, July 3rd 5:30-9:15pm

This is a free event hosted by Sugar Mill Pond with lots of activities including live music, face painting, and an unbelievable fireworks display. With lots of food and beverage options, dinner will be taken care of before you get home!


  1. Uncle Sam’s Jam- Sunday, July 3rd 4:00-10:00pm

In downtown Lafayette at Parc International, Uncle Sam’s Jam is another free event that benefits Downtown Lafayette Restaurants and Bar Association which means there are tons of great food and drink options. There will be multiple bands and a fireworks show the whole family will love!    

  1. Red, White, Blue, & You Festival- Monday, July 4th 6:00-9:15pm

Actually on the 4th, Red, White, Blue, & You includes a parade, program and concert, and fireworks. There’s nothing like fireworks actually on the 4th, so if you're up for a little drive, Lake Charles is sure to have a great show!


  1. New Iberia 4th of July Parade- Monday, July 4th 6:00-8:00pm

Hosted in the beautiful, historic downtown New Iberia, this 4th of July Parade includes an honor guard ceremony and a fireworks grand finale! If parades are your thing, this will surely be a celebration to remember.

Whatever you do this 4th of July, we wish America the greatest of birthdays, and hope you celebrate and stay safe! Be sure to tag us in your 4th of July pics. We’d love to see your patriotic side!

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House

by Teresa Hamilton & Team


How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize the financial reward when selling their home. But, how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to insuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house. (see chart)

Impact of Price on Visibility | Keeping Current Matters

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

In a recent article on, they gave this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. Yet, studies have shown that typically homes sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Recent research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Median Selling Price FSBO vs Agent | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Price it at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.

By KCM Crew

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 347

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

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