I can only speak from my personal experiences with this topic and I can only speak about Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish (the Northshore or North Shore), but thought it was worth sharing. For the past week, I have been house shopping for my parents. They live in the same house they bought when they got married over 40 years ago in a suburb of Boston. I thought it was the most beautiful house in the world with the hugest back yard when I was a kid. It is still a nice house, but needs a ton of work and is tri-level, which doesn’t necessarily work in your favor when you get older. It also requires exterior painting and lawn maintenance, which is something they really don’t need to fuss with anymore. Besides all that, the South is so much better than the Northeast (I’m biased) for living. Plus, we ain’t moving and they need to be near their only grandkids.

On to the market. In Old Mandeville alone, there are over 400 houses for sale. That is our primary target location because my mom loves it and it is so close to us. It is so convenient to get to everywhere from there too and the elementary and junior high are there. The downside, it is flood zone A (the worst one). When we moved in a year ago, $117 a square foot was about the asking price (we bought flood zone C). Most the houses we looked at this past week were still asking over $100 a square foot and had been on the market since last summer. Flood Zone A means you are almost exclusively limited to The Louisiana Citizens Plan, AARP is the other option.

So let’s do some math here (my worst subject). A house that we liked that was 1600 square feet is asking $190 right now. It has been sitting on the market since last June ans is in Flood Zone A 10 (close to Lake Pontchartrain and has a little Bayou running behind it). So now you are looking at home owners insurance coverage for about $150K of (land cost about $30K) at about $2800 and then a transferable flood policy for about $400 a year. Thier car insurance will go up too. That is a big chunk of change to consider on a fixed income.

I can’t blame the sellers for trying to stay high, but let’s face it, the market sucks big time and you gotta come down a bit. There are a ton of houses for lease or rent too. I think many of those folks decided some income was better than a vacant house and people have no trouble getting renters insurance. As for price ranges, IMHO (in my honest opinion), if you want to live in Mandeville, you can. I think there is something for everybody. Yes, the local market is still very much influenced by Katrina 2 years later. It is very much a buyers market now and people who are going to have to start giving away their treasures houses. We gave our hous in Oklahoma away (a year ago) for about $75 a square foot – UGH!

What will may parents do? I have no freaking clue at the moment, but dad is comfortably here with us and mom is now home dealing with her way overwhelming house and lawn in the freezing cold. We are out taking walks while she is hibernating. I have a feeling we will go in low on a couple of houses we like and cross our fingers!

Our real estate agent is Janie Mizes of MLS Realty/Buy Owner in Mandeville. I promise you she will work harder for you than anyone. She is one awesome lady. You can contact her at jmizes@bellsouth.net. Call her on her cell at (504) 430-2653 or her office at (985)845-8700.

Our insurance agent is Frank Carmeli. He writes the Louisiana Citizen plan and Allstate. Call him at (985)624-3444.

5 Replies to “The local state of real estate”

  1. Janie Mizes is a really super realtor. Am totally ignorant about buying after having only lived in 1 bought house, now for over 41 yrs. Janie is very earnest but not overwhelming or pushy in the least which would freak me out. She is extremely comfortable to be with & takes my uneducated but heartfelt comments without dispute e.g. “Oh what hideous colors”. “Just let me out of here”. or ” This is really gross”. “No way”. Such amazing patience this woman has, & I really like her as a person. My highest recommendation of Janie.

  2. I don’t know anything to say about all that except that it’s great there’s no conflict about them giving up their old home, and wanting to be close. All I can do is cross my fingers for you about the whole thing. I’m all for family members being close by.

    I changed my whole blog for the season and used a close up of your beads as my header. They’re beauty-full.

  3. Meant to let you know that on the return flight with Delta prior to deboarding in Boston, the stewardess thanked 2 soldiers on the plane for what they were doing for all of us. Everyone clapped, & the 2 fellows were all smiles. Nice thing to do for them. By the way, you booked the flight with me leaving so soon. Wonder why? Can’t imagine! Take good care of my hubby!

  4. ACK! So expensive on a fixed income is right! And more importantly, what will they do if (ahem…when) the house does get some flooding?

    You know, I’m not in flood risk zone, but there’s supposedly an underground spring through my property, and let me tell you, in a normal year with normal rainfall? It’s a freaking swamp. And you’ve seen “the green room” in my house. It’s awful–we’ve had two years where we couldn’t even go in the back yard, and fixing the problem is insanely expensive, pretty much out of the question for the foreseeable future.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I see water anywhere near a house and I get really nervous. If there are any issues with the water, even minor, it’s going to be very difficult for them to handle. Isn’t there anything on higher ground, so to speak? What about elsewhere on the North Shore?

  5. I was surfing the web, attempting to find out more information on Mandeville and found your blog. We are moving from Buffalo, NY hopefully in early July. We made a trip down to New Orleans several weeks ago and after driving 250 miles in one day checking out the areas we found Mandeville to be just the right place for us. Now we have to find a home, or at least a rental until we find the right house which will be a challange from Buffalo. I am going to contact Janie Mizes on your recommendation, she sounds like just the person we need to help us. If you or anyone you know has any further info we will welcome it. Thanks, Sharon

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