Baton Rouge Mortgage News

We should say that "working with us" is the first way! When you let us help you find the loan that's right for you, you truly are taking advantage of some of the area's best technology and expertise to get you a loan decision and funding on your loan quickly.

But here are five "other" ways you can speed up the process of getting a mortgage loan:

  • 1. Have everything ready and in one place. Elsewhere on our website, you'll find a list of things you might need in support of your mortgage application. If you get them all together and keep them in a safe, portable place like a special pouch or folder, you can cut down on time spent rooting around for things we may need. Also, you'll help cut down on your own anxiety and confusion.
  • 2. Be honest and complete when you fill out your application. "Fudging" your employment or residence history or omitting open credit accounts you'd rather not have considered doesn't increase your chances of getting a favorable loan. In 100 percent of cases, it makes it harder, and take longer. 
  • 3. Respond promptly to requests for additional information. During processing, we or the lender considering your loan may need additional information. Provide it as soon as you get the request, or return the call as soon as you get the message.
  • 4. Be prepared to explain derogatory items in your credit report. This is really part of number 2 above. If you had an illness or a divorce where you missed or made late payments, or you have other instances of late payments or delinquencies on your credit report, be prepared to explain them. Be honest, and don't be nervous! The loan processor isn't judging you, they're trying to fill in all the blanks in their paperwork.
  • 5. Let the appraiser in! The appraisal is one of the lengthiest parts of the mortgage loan process. Studies have shown that the single biggest factor in appraisal "lag time" is the appraiser's inability to reach the homeowner to make an appointment. If you're refinancing and the appraiser calls to make an appointment, make it as soon as convenient for both of you. And remember that the appraiser doesn't want to buy your house. He or she will say what the house is worth clean and tidy and in reasonable repair, even if you have some dirty laundry on the laundry room floor or dirty dishes in the sink. Cleaning doesn't get you a higher appraisal! Letting the appraiser in as soon as possible gets you a loan faster, though.

Posted by Bennet Oubre, MAI on August 26th, 2015 4:41 PM

Va Loan
If you weren't in the military, you may want to just skip this post.

It’s no secret I work with a lot of veterans, the VA Home loan program is a great benefit for those who served. But one of the biggest complaints I hear is from members of the armed service who didn't qualify. Or felt they should have qualified but their original lender didn't know why or didn't explain why. I’ll be honest you can call the VA and likely half of the people who answer the phone won’t be able to explain either.

So everything you need to know is on your DD-214, it was issued to you as separation papers or Cert of release or discharge from active duty. If you don’t have your DD-214, it’s the first thing any lender is going to ask for. For most, it is the happiest day when you get a hold of your DD-214, it’s like a warm safe blanket that no officer can penetrate. But it also gives you access to all the Veteran Benefits your recruiter sold you on. You should have had an exit interview, the main focus of this is to make sure all of you service records are correct, If you are being released with disabilities it would have been part of this interview, think of it as a AAR for your career. (Here is the kicker, most of the time a solider gets a choice, “You want a personal exit interview in 3 hours or a group interview now and you can head out”, Guess which one most pick) Also if you were in the selected services you may have several DD-214's.

The DD-214

As a veteran you want to make sure field 3 is correct SS#, you would think this is a given…Well I have a client that had 2 separate SS#, one for active deployment and a transposed one for reserve time. He was a Marine, so it is understandable! Next look at field 12, check this one closely. If you are an 88A (That’s 88 Alpha if you’re a civilian, but you were not supposed to read this post), and have never seen a boat, then you likely shouldn't have sea service.

“I’m still in the National Guard (or Reserve Unit)”, well then you won’t have a DD-214 for you selective service. (At least not a single one). I would start by suggesting you get a “Statement of Service” from your commander or Unit Admin. There is no Form for this but it should contain certain information. Feel free to call me with question or print this requirements of needs to be in the statement.

Once we have the required time in placee can ask for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This opens the doors for your VA loan. Get this in place first, before ever writing a contract to buy a home! Your Certs don’t expire so get them as early as possible!

Next up is do you qualify, well that depends on time in, when you served, how you were discharged, why you were discharged. If you were discharged during the 90’s then you must qualify during that time period.

The rest of this post is the nuts and bolts of qualification, and about as boring as you would expect. But it is why you are reading this post. You will have questions and every VA Loan is different. I would suggest calling me with specific questions. 225.819.7670

More Details on VA Home Loan Eligibility

There are many ways in which you may be eligible for a VA home loan. To be completely sure that you are eligible, call 225 288 6570 or complete a short contact request form and a licensed loan officer will answer your questions.

Here are more ways that you may be eligible:

If you enlisted and service began on or BEFORE September 7, 1980 or you were an officer and service began on or BEFORE October 16, 1980 you are eligible if you served honorably for:

90 days or more, any part of which occurred during wartime or

181 continuous days or more during peacetime

If you enlisted and service began AFTER September 7, 1980 or you were an officer and service began AFTER October 16, 1980, you may be eligible if you served honorably for:

24 continuous months or more or the full period for which ordered to active duty, but not less than 90 days (any part during wartime) or 181 continuous days (peacetime)

Member of the National Guard or Reserves for a minimum of 6 years (see below for more information)

The Vietnam Era begins on Feb 28, ’61 for individuals who served in the Republic of Vietnam

You may also be determined eligible if you:

  • were discharged for a service-connected disability, or
  • were discharged for the convenience of the government after completing at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment, or
  • completed not less than 90 days (any part during wartime) or 181 continuous days (peacetime), and
  • were discharged because of a hardship, or
  • were determined to have a service-connected disability, or
  • were discharged or released from active duty for a medical condition which preexisted service and has not been determined to be service-connected, or
  • received an involuntary discharge or release from active duty for the convenience of the Government as a result of a reduction in force, or
  • were discharged or released from active duty for a physical or mental condition not characterized as a disability and not the result of misconduct but which did interfere with your performance of duty
  • are an un-remarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or
  • are a spouse of a serviceperson missing in action or a prisoner of war.

The above information does not cover every situation. To find out if you are eligible for a VA loan, call 225 288 6570 to speak with a licensed lender who can help you with your specific needs, or contact us here to get a VA loan rate quote and verify your eligibility.

Active Duty Service Personnel

If you are now on active duty, you are eligible after having served on continuous active status for at least 90 days. When an ending date is established for Persian Gulf War service, a minimum of 181 days of continuous active duty will be required for persons who did not have wartime service.

Members of the Selected Reserve

“Selected Reserve” means the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of any of the Reserve components which consists of units and individuals who participate actively in paid training periods and serve on paid active duty for training each year. This includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves as well as Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

6-Year Requirement: A veteran, who is not otherwise eligible, who completes a total of 6 years as a member of the Selected Reserve (need not be ordered to active duty) is eligible if he or she either:

  • received an honorable discharge
  • was placed on the retired list
  • was transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service in the Selected Reserve characterized as honorable
  • continues to serve in the Selected Reserve.

The 6 years service need not be continuous nor in the same Reserve or National Guard unit. However, active duty regular military service cannot be combined with Reserve service to reach the 6 year requirement.

The VA home loan program is an excellent deal for active duty military personnel and non-active duty veterans. Take advantage of your benefits.

  • Loan Amounts Up to $417,000 and Higher in some High Cost Areas.
  • 15, 25 or 30 Year Loan Terms
  • Up to 4% Seller Paid Closing Cost Allowed
  • No Mortgage Insurance



Posted by Bennet Oubre, MAI on April 20th, 2015 2:16 PM


Existing home sales for September fell by 1.90 percent from August’s revised reading of 5.39 million sales to 5.29 million sales. Economists had expected 5.30 million sales for September, so a slow-down in existing home sales had been anticipated.

The National Association of REALTORS cited higher home prices and mortgage rates as factors contributing to fewer sales of previously owned homes.

Home Prices Easily Outpaced Income Growth

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, home prices ”easily outpaced income growth.” Consequently, affordability has fallen to a five-year low. Mr. Yun also indicated that a government shutdown was expected to affect home sales in October. 

NAR also cited a ”notable increase” in federal flood insurance premiums as a deterrent to homebuyers in flood zones. The premium increase was set for October 1.

There is some good news. The NAR reported that existing home sales had increased from 4.78 million in September 2012. As compared to the reading for September 2013, this was an annual increase of 10.70 percent in existing home sales.

This increase represented the 27th consecutive month for increasing sales of existing homes on a year-over-year basis.

Higher National Median Home Price

According to the NAR report, the national median home price increased by 11.70 percent to $199,200 as compared to one year ago. This was the 10th consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year increases in existing home prices.

NAR estimated that it would take five months to sell the 2.21 million previously owned homes currently available, which indicates that available existing homes remain in short supply.

Sales of distressed properties rose to 14.00 percent share of existing home sales, up from August’s share of 12.00 percent. August’s level was the lowest share of distressed properties sold since NAR began tracking monthly sales of distressed properties in October 2008. Sales of distressed properties during September included 9.00 percent foreclosed properties and 5.00 percent short sales.

Distressed properties typically sell for less than market value; fewer distressed properties included in existing homes for sale would contribute to higher prices. September’s percentage of distressed sales is down by 10 percent year-over-year.

Posted in:General
Posted by Bennet Oubre, MAI on October 23rd, 2013 10:42 AM

There are several reasons for selling your house yourself. Some that make sense; some that don’t make sense. I’ve even taken this route myself, with mixed results. I am a do-it-yourselfer, so I understand that too, maybe that’s a driving force for you. Well, let me give you a few tips.

 Note: I thought I would dash off 10 tips and be done with it. That didn’t work. There were too many thoughts; too many experiences. 10 tips turned to 15, then 20. There are more, but you have to stop somewhere.

For Sale By Owner

This is 1 of 3 articles written to Help FSBO Clients. 

Part 1: Tips for Baton Rouge FSBO’s (For Sale By Owner)

Part 2: My Experiences with FSBO’s. Tales of Woe and Tales of Success                     

Part 3: What happens after the contract is signed!

§  Pricing. Don’t take your neighbors word on what things sold for. Don’t use other people’s asking price for setting your price. Find out solid info on modern sales. Practically same square footage, beds, baths, degree of updates, etc. Don’t fudge here. Today’s buyers know prices, you can’t overprice.

§  Use Realtors for their knowledge, they know what properties in certain areas are selling for, some might want up to $150 for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) or use one of my Realtors for FREE!

§  Decide if you will work with Realtors.  You are allowed to negotiate commissions! While you wouldn’t offer the full commission, there are realtors who will bring you homebuyers for a reduced Commission (2% is common, but it is up to you). Just be sure it is set beforehand.

§  Ask callers if they are pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. Don’t waste your time on “lookers.”  You can always have them call me 225 819 7670!

§  Make a great flyer. Possible buyers may scribble down your number, but they won’t remember what it was for by the time they get home.

§  Make it easy for buyers to reach you – phone and email. Get the “house for sale” on the Internet.

§  It Must be on the net. Make a video (use Animoto). Post it on,,, even Facebook. These group network sites are the rage now. Google loves them and gives priority ranking to them.

§  Consider opening a Gmail account specific to the house ( You don’t want to miss an opportunity because an interested buyer got lost in all the Macy sale emails! Plus once you sell the property you can delete the account.

§  Answer your phone! Buyers Won’t call back. Make it easy for homebuyers to reach you, not difficult.

§  Make it ready to see. “I can only show from 2-4 on Saturday” won’t work. Do you want to sell it or not?

§  Don’t be vague and hesitant. Know what price you want and either you will do owner finance or not. Know what closing costs are. Know lender requirements, interest rates, down payment required. If you are going to be a Realtor, be a knowledgeable one. Find a lender who will help you. Have agreement forms ready.

§  If your home qualifies for special programs ADVERTISE IT, this could be the difference between someone picking your property over another.

§  Do capture phone numbers for follow up later.

§  Have your Disclosure forms filled out and ready for homebuyers.

§  Don’t fib on those disclosure forms. There are some cases where these are not necessary, but in general, you must furnish them. (Estate sales, foreclosures are 2 examples)

§  Make that house sparkle! Get the family out. Buyers will feel like they are intruding if your family is there.

§  Never show the house alone, have a spouse friend or neighbor with you. Yes we want to sell the house but let’s keep safety in mind.

§  Follow up with possible buyers. They say they will call you back…they won’t! You call them! Decide on a time period.

§  If your house is vacant, try open houses. This is a low-key way for people to see your house. ·

Well, that’s my guidance – my top 20 or so tips for helping For-Sale-By-Owners. I wrote it swiftly and didn’t cover everything, but hopefully it’s helpful. I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and your buyer’s business. I have both sold and purchased homes through FSBO websites, and made more mistakes than I would like to admit. But hopefully my mistakes will benefit you. If I can answer any questions, or help market your home please give me a call.


Posted in:General
Posted by Bennet Oubre, MAI on August 23rd, 2013 12:48 PM