Ascension Sales Tax Set to Increase

For those of you that live south…er, WEST of the river in Donaldsonville, this may concern you.  What’s interesting is that it affects a specific 750 acre tract that was annexed into the city.  11 cents sales taxes are extreme, so let’s hope the parish and city leaders can get this worked out to keep the taxes from rising.

Ascension Sales Tax Set to Increase

David R. Madaffari, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty – First Choice
Office: 225.744.0044
Cell: 225.772.3283 (DAVE)
37325 Market Place Dr. Ste D
Prairieville, LA 70769
www.DavidMadaffari.com
Each office independently owned and operated

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Flood Insurance Bill Reinstates Grandfathering of Policies.

The moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived!  This weekend, the president signed into law the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, ending a 2-year fight to prevent dramatic rate hikes in flood-prone areas.

President Signs Flood Insurance Bill

Specifically the bill reinstates the grandfathering and transferring of existing policies to new buyers of homes without a rate increase.

“The bill also reinstates the flood insurance program’s grandfathering provision, meaning homes that complied with previous flood maps would not be hit with large increases when new maps show greater risk of flooding. It also ends a provision that required an immediate hike to actuarial levels when a home changes ownership — slowing home sales in many communities designated high risk by FEMA flood maps.”

I will detail more of the bill’s provisions on Thursday as there are a lot more good things in it.  So if you were afraid your flood insurance would make your home undesirable, you can breath a little easier.  Now let’s get that home on the market and get what you deserve for your home!

David R. Madaffari, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty – First Choice
Office: 225.744.0044
Cell: 225.772.3283 (DAVE)
37325 Market Place Dr. Ste D
Prairieville, LA 70769
www.DavidMadaffari.com
Each office independently owned and operated

Season by Season Yard Prep Tips

Yep, it’s the time of year for all of us to break our backs and get to the yard prep we have been dreading all winter. It’s amazing how, with the incredibly cold weather we had and the ice storms we endured, the weeds didn’t skip a beat and took over our lawns and gardens!  Here is an article that can help you plan your seasonal activities to keep your yard and garden looking great.  This article is courtesy of Houselogic.com. Happy gardening and don’t forget your Claritin!
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Season-by-Season Lawn Maintenance Calendar

By: Douglas Trattner

Published: April 8, 2013

Follow our season-by-season lawn maintenance calendar to get a barefoot-worthy lawn and ensure great curb appeal.

Sharpen mower blades to ensure clean cuts. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving jagged edges that discolor the lawn and invite pathogens.

Sharpen mower blades once each month during grass-cutting season. Have a backup blade (about $20) so that a sharp one is always on hand.

Tune up your mower with a new sparkplug ($3-$5) and air filter ($5-$10). Your mower might not need a new sparkplug every season, but changing it is a simple job, and doing it every year ensures you won’t forget the last time you replaced your sparkplug.

Buy fresh gas. Gas that’s been left to sit over the winter can accumulate moisture that harms small engines. This is especially true for fuel containing ethanol, so use regular grades of gasoline.

If you need to dump old gasoline, ask your city or county for local disposal sites that take old fuel.

Clean up your lawn. Time to get out the leaf rakes and remove any twigs and leaves that have accumulated over the winter. A thick layer of wet leaves can smother a lawn if not immediately removed in early spring. Cleaning up old debris clears the way for applying fertilizer and herbicides.

Spring

Depending on your weather, your grass will now start growing in earnest, so be ready for the first cutting. Don’t mow when the grass is wet — you could spread diseases, and wet clippings clog up lawn mowers.

Fertilizing: Both spring and fall are good times to fertilize your lawn. In the northern third of the country, where winters are cold, fertilize in fall — cool weather grasses go dormant over winter and store energy in their roots for use in the spring.

For the rest of the country, apply fertilizer just as your grass begins its most active growth. For best results, closely follow the application directions on the product. You’ll spend about $50 to $75 per application for an average ¼-acre lot.

Aeration: Aerating punches small holes in your lawn so water, fertilizers, and oxygen reach grass roots. Pick a day when the soil is damp but not soaked so the aeration machine can work efficiently.

Related: More about lawn aeration

Pre-emergent herbicides: Now is the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass and other weeds from taking root in your lawn. A soil thermometer is a handy helper; you can pick one up for $10-$20. When you soil temperature reaches 58 degrees — the temperature at which crabgrass begins to germinate — it’s time to apply the herbicide.

Early Summer

Watch out for grubs: Warm weather means that grub worms, the larvae stage of June, Japanese, and other beetles, start feeding on the tender root systems of lawns. Affected lawns show browning and wilting patches.

To be certain that the culprits are grubs, pull back the sod and look for white, C-shaped grubs. If you see more than 10 per square foot, your lawn should be treated with a chemical pesticide.

Milky spore is an environmentally friendly way to control some species of grubs. When using insecticides, read and follow all label directions, and water the product into the soil immediately. Cost is around $50 to $75 per application.

Grass-cutting tip: Your grass is starting to grow fast, and you might even be cutting more than once a week to keep up. To keep grass healthy, mow often enough so you’re removing no more than 1/3 of the grass blade.

Pesky weeds: Weeds that have escaped an herbicide application should be removed with a garden fork. Use a post-emergent herbicide only if you think the situation is getting out of hand.

Check out our guide to some common types of weeds and tips on how to get rid of them.

Summer

Here’s a good mantra to guide you through the heart of grass-mowing season: The taller the grass, the deeper the roots, the fewer the weeds, and the more moisture the soil holds between watering.

With that in mind, here’s how to ensure a healthy, green lawn:

  • Set your mower blade height to 3 inches.
  • Deep and infrequent watering is better for lawns than frequent sprinkles, which promote shallow root growth. In general, lawns need about 1 inch of water per week to maintain green color and active growth.

Lawns that receive less than that will likely go dormant. That’s okay, the grass is still alive, but dormant lawns should still receive at least 1 inch of water per month. Your grass will green up again when the weather brings regular rains.

  • To check the output of a sprinkler, scatter some pie tins around the yard to see how much water collects in a specific length of time. Having a rain gauge ($5 to $20) will help you keep track of how much water the lawn receives naturally.
  • At least once each month, clean underneath your mower to prevent spreading lawn diseases.
  • Although it’s OK to leave grass clippings on the lawn where they can decompose and nourish the soil, large clumps of clippings should be removed. Regularly rake up any leaves, twigs, and debris.

If your grass seems to be stressed out, check out our advice on what to do if your lawn is turning brown.

Early Fall

The best time to patch bare or thin spots is when the hot, dry days of summer have given way to cooler temps. Follow these simple steps:

1. Remove any dead grass.

2. Break up the soil with a garden trowel.

3. Add an inch of compost and work it into the soil.

4. Add grass seed that’s designed for shade or full sun, depending on the area you’re working on. Spread the seed evenly across the bare patch.

5. Use a hard-tooth rake to work the seed into the soil to a depth of about half an inch.

6. Sprinkle grass clippings over the patch to help prevent the soil from drying out.

7. Water the area; you’ll want to keep the patch moist, so lightly water once a day until the seed germinates and the new grass gets about one inch tall.

Fall

Your main job in fall is to keep your lawn free of leaves and other debris. You can use a mulching mower to break up leaves and add the organic matter to your soil, but be sure to clean up any clumps so they don’t kill the grass.

In the northern one-third of the country, now is the time to fertilize your lawn. Your grass will store the nutrients in its roots as it goes dormant over the winter, and your lawn will be ready for a jump start when spring warms the ground.

This is also the time to clean up your garden.

David R. Madaffari, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty – First Choice
Office: 225.744.0044
Cell: 225.772.3283 (DAVE)
37325 Market Place Dr. Ste D
Prairieville, LA 70769
www.DavidMadaffari.com
Each office independently owned and operated

Adjustable Rate Mortgages Making a Comeback

I saw a post by a fellow agent on Facebook asking our opinions on the below article from the Wall Street Journal.  It talks about how Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are seeing more interest from borrowers, but lenders insist that instead of focusing on subprime borrowers, they are marketing to the “jumbo” loan market.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages Make a Comeback – WSJ

I believe these loans still have a place in our market, even for non-jumbo borrowers.  For example, I refinanced my own home to a 5-year ARM loan in 2012- where the interest rate is fixed for 5 years before adjusting each year.  I locked in a paltry 2.75% interest rate for 5 years, cutting my interest rate 45%.  I now save $414/month on my mortgage, and the cap is 7.75% once it starts adjusting.  Even if it got that high I wouldn’t be paying any more than I already was when i bought the house, probably STILL less.  And with 5 years of a 2.75% interest rate, more of my payment is going towards principal and NOT interest.

It does beg the question – has the media lambasted the ARM loan to a point where consumers don’t even consider them without knowing the details?  With a good down payment and a short-term window, ARM loans are a great way to save money.  You can get them in 3, 5, or even 7 year terms, all with lower fixed rates than conventional financing.

What are your thoughts?

David R. Madaffari, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty – First Choice
Office: 225.744.0044
Cell: 225.772.3283 (DAVE)
37325 Market Place Dr. Ste D
Prairieville, LA 70769
www.DavidMadaffari.com
Each office independently owned and operated