Yo Joe!: Buddy King’s homeowner hurricane tips and more

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Sponsored by Korman Gerrity Real Estate

I’m Joe Gerrity, local businessman, investor and Real Estate Broker. For my monthly “Yo Joe!” column, I’ll be answering your real estate questions as well as providing market information and housing statistics.

I believe the main responsibilities of a Realtor are to add value and facilitate mutually beneficial transactions, and through this column I hope to help the New Orleans community make more informed decisions about their housing future.

Yo Joe! It’s been a while. What’s going on?

Yes, it has. Honestly, I’ve been taking on a lot more than I’m used to, and writing this fell by the wayside. I’m formally bringing on a few partners who I’ve been working with for a while,  and together we’re rebranding the brokerage. I launched a New Orleans-based CBD manufacturing company, Crescent Canna, which is now on shelves all over the city. 

Also, I’m still a child at heart so I have a hard time doing anything that can even be conceived of as “school” work during summer vacation…

With that said, I’m handing this edition off to William “Buddy” King, who is the Senior Realtor at Korman Gerrity. He’s been working locally with buyers and sellers for over five years after spending time as a New Orleans teacher. Buddy is without a doubt one of the most professional and competent realtors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Yo Buddy! We’re in the middle of hurricane season, what can I do to protect my home?

Before you take any measures to protect your home, it’s wise to research which flood zone you live in.  This information will help you obtain the appropriate insurance coverage for your home and suggest the likelihood it will flood. If this summer’s flash flood taught us anything, it’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard and helpless. After you have taken the necessary steps with your insurance, there are a few things you can do to prevent damage to your home.

Experts suggest stocking up on sandbags stacked at least two feet high at the entrances of your home in order to ward off as much encroaching water as possible. Securing your shutters is an ideal way to protect your windows. If your house does not have shutters, covering your windows with boards is the next best option for protection. Often overlooked during hurricane safety is the garage door — the weakest part of the house. The real danger here lies in the garage door being blown away, potentially causing damage to other homes and allowing high force winds to enter the garage. The winds can create a buildup of internal pressure that has the potential to tear the roof off of the house.

Luckily, there are some simple measures that can be taken to ensure that the garage door is not blown away. First, invest in a windowless garage door less than 9 feet wide and rated to withstand 50 or more pounds of pressure per square foot. Next, install a reinforcement brace to further secure the garage door in place. You should also ensure that your roof is in good condition and assess the trees surrounding your home. Water oaks, which can be identified with their 2-4 inch oak-shaped leaves that fall during autumn, are commonly found in New Orleans. Water oaks pose a particularly concerning threat due to their rapid growth and short lifespan. Dead limbs and dead or dying trees should be removed from your property to prevent them from falling during a storm.

Finally, take an inventory of possessions in your home. This inventory will be vital to making accurate insurance claims, should anything be lost or damaged during a storm. A simple solution is to take a cellphone video while slowly walking through your house. 

Yo Buddy! I’m interested in adding a pool. Will it add any value to my home? 

Great question — and one that many homeowners have as well! Pools are considered a luxury and can become the center of parties, gatherings, and memories. However, let’s not forget that the expenses of installing and maintaining a pool are incredibly high. Houselogic.com, which is run by the National Association of Realtors, reports that the average cost of installing, equipping, and filling a 600-square-foot concrete pool starts at $30,000. If you want something larger, the general rule of thumb is every square foot will cost at least $50 to install.

While some estimates support the idea that a pool can increase a home’s value, that is not necessarily true in all cases. For example, many parents with young children want to avoid homes with pools due to the danger they pose to young children. On the other hand, if most homes in the neighborhood have pools and yours does not, that may negatively impact the value of your home. In order to make the best judgement call, contact a real estate agent to run a free Comparable Market Analysis (CMA), as this will offer a more accurate and realistic estimate based on the market.

Ultimately, the decision to build a pool is up to you. If you have always wanted to own a pool and love swimming, or you are looking for a way to entertain your kids and friends, then a pool is a fine choice. I cannot, however, guarantee that the pool will immediately increase the value of your home. 

 Yo Buddy! Mosquitoes are everywhere around my house. What can I do to resolve this problem?

The first thing to know is that mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. You can prevent mosquitoes from making an unwanted appearance by emptying buckets, birdbaths and unused fountains. If mosquitoes are still causing you trouble even after emptying all standing water, products such as torches and repellent infused candles and sprays offer protection.

If you want to open windows and doors but are afraid of mosquitoes getting in, installing screened porches, windows, and doors can help reduce the number of mosquitoes getting inside while still letting fresh air in. An extra line of defense can be found in certain plants such as catnip, rosemary and lemon thyme, which act as natural repellents against mosquitoes. These can be placed near entrances and around the home to keep mosquitoes away while also offering a pleasant, refreshing smell. 

Yo Buddy! What plants do well in this hot weather?

New Orleans summers can be brutally hot, but that doesn’t stop various plants from blooming. Flowers like the Rose of Montana, Simpson’s Rosinweed, Sulphur Cosmos, and Profusion Zinnias thrive in the summer heat. A variety of herbs also grow well in the summertime, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, basil and mint. New Orleans is famous for its many varieties of trees that take a role in reducing the heat island effect of the semi-tropical climate and easing the pressure that rain run-off puts on drainage systems throughout the city. Additionally, having a vibrant and lively yard can increase your home’s likeliness to sell.

Since the yard acts as a first impression, it has the opportunity to be totally eye-catching or completely repelling to potential home buyers. For homeowners looking to sell, it is recommended to keep the lawn neatly groomed and mowed. If there is a garden, try to have a variety of plants that are in bloom year-round or keep a rotating cast of plants to make sure the appearance of your garden doesn’t deter potential buyers. 

Yo Buddy! I am looking to move my family to New Orleans during the beginning of the school year. What neighborhood should I buy in? 

If you’re new in town, it may feel overwhelming trying to figure out the perfect school to send your children to, especially in a city with evolving education policies. New Orleans recently became the first large American city without any traditional public schools. The charter school system in New Orleans offers families the unique opportunity to enroll in their preferred school without being bound to traditional school districts. Simply put, you can choose to live in any neighborhood and still find a school that fits your child’s needs.

Families apply through OneApp, a computerized annual school enrollment application for Orleans Parish public schools. Families may apply to up to eight participating schools, regardless of location. The OneApp is open to families new to New Orleans, currently in public school, or who would like to transfer. If you prefer your child attends a private school, there are a multitude of K-12 options located in some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods.   

Since New Orleans has very few restrictions on where your child can attend based on districts, you are free to apply nearly anywhere you want! To help with your search, we’ve included a brief list of some outstanding New Orleans schools, public and private, and what makes them special so your family can enjoy the area and get a great education. 

Lusher High School is one of New Orleans’ most impressive charter schools and has two locations: one in the Carrollton neighborhood for kindergarten through fifth grade, and one in the Freret neighborhood for middle and high school. For families of those who are accepted, there is never a shortage of activities surrounding the Carrollton and Freret areas, which are both known for their restaurants and nightlife. On the other side of town, Benjamin Franklin High School offers not just one of the best educations in New Orleans, but in the entire state of Louisiana. The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, or NOCCA for short, is New Orleans’ premier performing arts high school. Located in the Bywater, best known as the de facto arts district in New Orleans, this school offers the perfect place for young artists to grow and develop. NOCCA boasts an impressive list of alumni, including Harry Connick Jr., Jon Batiste and Trombone Shorty, among others. 

While New Orleans has received national recognition for its revolutionary charter school system, the city’s private schools, both religiously affiliated and non-denominational, offer some amazing possibilities. The Academy of the Sacred Heart, located on historic St. Charles Avenue in the Uptown area, is a prestigious all-girls Catholic school. For those looking for a place to send their boys, Jesuit High School is an all-boys Catholic high school in Mid-City with a history of great sports teams. The non-denominational Isidore Newman High School, located just a few blocks away from Sacred Heart, is one of the most impressive schools in New Orleans, hailed as one of the best schools in Louisiana by the New York Times. Newmans’s recognizable alumni include the Manning brothers, actor Bryan Batt and many more.

New Orleans offers some of the best educational opportunities in the state, and there are no shortage of choices whether you want to send your child to a public or private institution. As you choose which neighborhood works best for you and your family, rest assured that, regardless of where you live, the quality of New Orleans schools has never been higher.

You Know Joe?

Joe Gerrity is the Broker and managing partner of Korman Gerrity Real Estate, a full service New Orleans real estate brokerage located at 4505 Magazine Street. He is also the managing partner of Big Easy Buyers, and a founding partner of both Crescent City Vape and Simply CBD.

In a past life, Joe was a contributing sportswriter to ESPN. Learn more at wesellnola.com or email Joe a question at joe@wesellnola.com.

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