All of the information you need about real estate in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

What is a Walk Score in Real Estate?

Using Walk Score in Looking for Homes

Walk ability has become a very popular real estate statistic home buyers now use when looking for their next home online.  A Walk Score is a number ranging from 1-100 and shows how easily you can live, and fully function in society, living at a particulate address.

Walk Score was invented and marketed by…you guessed right…Walk Score.

How Do Home Buyers Use a Walk Score?

walk score in real estate

The numbers shown in a Walk Score

There are a variety of ways people searching for homes for sale utilize the Walk Score.  They can search by easy, walking access to nearby coffee shops, grocery stores, schools, parks and so on depending on what type of lifestyle you live.

If its important for you to live near an abundance of nightclubs, pubs and bars, you have that option too.  In addition, when searching for properties, you will notice an aggregate Walk Score somewhere in the majority of online real estate listings.  This overall number shows how easy it is to live in a particular location while not owning a car and walking everywhere.

Why is a Walk Score Important to People Buying a Home?

walk score

Using the Walk Score when buying a home

With the world today being much more interested in their overall health, many people have chosen to walk to work, walk to get their groceries and so on.  With fitness becoming so popular today, many people utilize the walk score not only for walking but for jogging and running.

Walk Score even produces a score for biking, so you can know how easy it is to get around utilizing your bicycle.   Since many subdivisions and areas to live don’t even have a sidewalk, it can be a major determining factor in where you live and which home you buy.

Why are Real Estate Website Putting Walk Score On Their Searches?

With online real estate listings being such a force in today’s marketplace, everyone is trying to differentiate their real estate website online.  It really all started with the massive success of Zillow.  Prior to Zillow, the majority of real estate websites were put forth by real estate brokers and agents.

Many of these sites were not only poor design, but didn’t have a high level of technology behind them.  Prior to Zillow, the only major, nation wide real estate portal was is a website put forth by the National Association of REALTORS or NAR.

Since was a website put forth by a trade organization and not directly for profit, they had many limitations on how they could market the website.  Now, you will see most advanced real estate websites utilizing Walk Score in their search results.  Some even will let you sort your home results by Walk Score.

Walk Score In New Orleans Housing

Because of the age of New Orleans and the fact that quite a bit of the city was built way before we had master plans and public works departments thinking the cities design through, many of the city doesn’t lend itself to walking.  This makes the Walk Score even more important for buying a home in New Orleans.

If being able to live in an area that is easily walk able, Walk Score can narrow down your options for your next home purchase.  Once you have a smaller list of places in Greater New Orleans where it is safe and applicable to walk to — now you can dig in a little deeper to find the home of your dreams.


What Are Your Mortgage Options When Buying a Home?

Mortgage options when buying real estate

When searching for a home in NOLA, one of the first things you will want to do is get your mortgage set up and ready to go.  The vast majority of home are purchased through a mortgage. There are many different types of mortgages available to home buyers. Here are a few mortgage options when buying a home:

First-time home buyer programs.

Is this your first home? Check with your local banks, credit unions, or even governments for these types of programs. Often, you don’t have to put the full, traditional 20% down. There are often different criteria (like credit scores, income limits, etc.) to participate in these programs.

FHA program.

This type of mortgage is one of the best options out there for those with less-than-perfect credit, FHA is a great option. You’ll be required to put a down payment of 3.5%. which is typically much easier to do than normal home sales.

USDA loans.

There are varying eligible locations for using a USDA loan, and despite being called a rural loan, these aren’t always rural areas. You have to have a decent credit score and a steady income, under a certain limit requirement. You also cannot currently own a home.

mortgages for your home purchase

There are many mortgage options, choosing the right one makes a HUGE difference in buying a home.

VA loans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs allow veterans and their surviving spouses to purchase a home with no money down and limited closing costs. Also, you’ll reduce your monthly note because there is no mortgage insurance required.

Fixed Rate Mortgage.

These types of mortgages have the same interest rate for the entire term of payment, meaning that your monthly pay is going to stay the same.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

This type of mortgage is the opposite of a fixed rate. Your interest rate will change, or adjust, typically each year. This means that your monthly payments might not be the same, and there could be a large change.

No matter what type of mortgage you decide on, it is important to do your proper research and thoroughly read your contracts before signing anything. It is a good idea to consider hiring a real estate agent, who will be able to help identity what types of mortgages you will qualify for, as well as guide and help you in the process of purchasing.


Essential Tips for Finding the Perfect Home

Tips On Searching For Homes

If you are in the market for a new home, searching for homes for sale online can be an arduous task.  There are literally hundreds of websites that provide listings online to search through.  But which ones should you be using?  There are local NOLA real estate broker websites as well as the national real estate search sites such as Trulia and Which one has all of the listings?  Which one is the easiest to use?

National Real Estate Websites

One of the challenges with the national real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia is they don’t have all of the available properties for sale on their website.  You would think that these huge, publicly traded websites would have everything available for sale, but you will find out pretty quick that they do not.  Real Estate practitioners have been complaining about that for years!  Your best bet in searching for homes for sale in NOLA is using a local real estate website that has direct access to the local Multiple Listing Service.

Local Real Estate Websites

Most local real estate websites have direct access to the Multiple Listing Service.  The MLS is the database for local real estate listings which almost every local real estate broker uses.  Local real estate brokers access the MLS to search for homes for sale for their clients as well as look up sold properties so they can do valuations on other homes.

When a REALTOR values a particular property, they use “comps” which are similar sold properties.  The MLS, as the database for sold and active listings, are what local real estate brokers use to find those sold comparable sales.  Real estate appraisers use the exact same database.

This goes to show that when looking for a real estate database that contains all of the properties, the MLS is the gold standard.  Whether you are looking to buy on the Northshore in a rural area such as Abita Springs or searching for a luxury property in the French Quarter, the local real estate sites will have ALL of the listings.

Local real estate websites use the MLS as the database for properties, so you are guaranteed to see all of the listings by all real estate brokers.  If you are looking for a home to rent, many of the national real estate websites have very few rentals, compared to what is truly available.  If you want to see all of the available units for rent, you will want to search a local property management website, since they will show everything.

Customization of Your Real Estate Search

Another thing to consider when searching online for homes for sale in NOLA is your local real estate website will  have customized search options.  The national websites such as, have the same search for properties all over the United States.  So if you are searching in NOLA, you have no need to fumble through search options such as basement or other search options that simply do not apply.

Using a local real estate website to search NOLA homes you will find that the search function on the website makes much more sense.  Meaning, you will see search options that are relevant to you using terms you are familiar with.  For instance, in NOLA, you may be looking for a camelback style of home.  These types of properties are unique to NOLA, so you wont see that as a search criteria on any nationwide website.

Saving Your Real Estate Search

Another positive for using a New Orleans based website to search for finding real estate in NOLA is that you can save your searches.  Although just about every real estate website lets you save your search and get notifications, the local real estate website will have you connected to a local REALTOR.  The national portals, if you give them your contact information, will simply sell your name and e-mail address to the highest bidder.

This may or may not be an agent that you would like to use for your next real estate transaction.  Using a local website lets you learn about the specifics of the agent, know their specialties, the areas they work and so on.  When you request information on a national website, you simply get the next REALTOR who is “up”.

Keep It Local

Buying local has been a movement for many years now.  With the power of the internet and online sales, it is important to do business the local retailers and business people.  At the end of the day, even if you use a major real estate website to search for properties, when you request additional information, they are going to refer to to a local agent.

Why not take advantage of the superior real estate database and customized search  available on local real estate websites?  You are going to end up using one of those REALTORS anyway, may as well start there.