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The Best of Covington

by Kim Higgins

The City of Covington is one of Southern charm, with a variety of boutiques, specialty shops, art museums and restaurants.  The downtown historical district is where the community celebrates the history and culture through music, food and the arts. 

There are a variety of events that promote downtown Covington as a cultural center in the region. Whether you're a Covington resident or visitor, here are some events and activities you won't want to miss! 

The Covington Trailhead is the location of a 31-mile paved trail called the Tammany Trace, which joins the cities of Covington, Abita Springs, Lacombe, Mandeville, and Slidell. Located at 419 N. New Hampshire Street, the Trailhead is in walking distance of the downtown restaurants and shops. Resembling an old-style railroad station, the Trailhead includes an amphitheater, a grassy hill for audience seating, a covered marketplace, water fountains, restrooms, museum and visitor center, and a small movie theater. 

Explorations in Texture & Color with Anne Cicero will be held at the St. Tammany Art Association on March 4th and 5th, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Create unique and exciting Acrylic surfaces, add attention and inspiration to your painting method with texture and color.  

St. Tammany is a non-profit supported by its community and members, and has been serving the Northshore for over 50 years.  For additional information and a list of  upcoming events, visit the St. Tammany Art Association website

Chef Soiree is about exceptional food and beverages, fun, music, and a magnificent fireworks display all in one evening. This special event with communities support, helps the Youth Service Bureau to provide critical services to our young people. The Chef Soiree will be held on Sunday, March 15th, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. at Bogue Falaya Park, 213 Park Drive. For questions or additional information, please call Youth Service Bureau, (985)-893-2570.

 

The Covington Farmers Market is a welcoming community of local producers that offer fresh produce, eggs, milk, cheeses, meats, jams and jellies, authentic foods, pies, pastries, candy and more. The market also offers a wide selection of live local, ornamental and culinary plants. The market is open each Wednesday from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire, and Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m.-12 noon on the lawn of the Covington Police Station, 609 N. Columbia Street.  On Saturdays expect to find live music and complimentary samples from local chefs. Wednesdays includes great lunch options and more music.

 

Live music at the Covington Farmers Market is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Parish Commission of Cultural Affairs. 

 

 

 

Tour the City of Covington with Kim Higgins, Realtor

 

Best Home Improvements On A Budget

by Kim Higgins

Best Home Improvements On A BudgetWhen it comes to home improvements it makes sense to determine what is cost worthy. And if you have a limited budget, it's more important to spend your money wisely.

These budget-friendly home improvement projects will help you enjoy your home more today and will be an excellent financial return in the future. 

A beautiful touch by adding molding. Decorative molding is a timeless touch that’s been around for centuries. A budget-friendly investment, molding is still one of the most impressive ways to give a room an elegant and finished look.

Install quality ceiling fans. Ceiling fans used to be known for a cheap solution to rising energy costs.  Today, ceiling fans have advanced into an important component of American homes as energy prices continue to increase. Ceiling fans come in a variety of styles and colors to compliment any room in your home.

Plant trees in your yard. Trees may be the last home improvement project you would consider, but trees gain value as years go by. The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers reported that mature trees can have value of $1,000 to $10,000.  A recent study also indicates that trees growing in front of or near a house boosted its sale price by an average of $8,870.

Install a patio in your backyard area. Patios are a great way to increase your living space without actually adding on.  Think about adding a DIY deck and additional lighting. Plus you'll gain 30% to 60% of your investment. A $2,500 patio could return around $1,125 at resale. 

Take care of all the energy-efficient upgrades.  The value of energy-efficient homes is on the rise. A UCLA study determined the sale prices of 1.6 million California homes, and on average, sold for 9% higher, when homes had Energy Star products or LEED certification.  In fact, nine out of 10 home buyers would select an efficient home with lower utility bills over a less efficient home.

Add some extra storage. I don’t' think anyone has to sell you on the value of storage and built-in organizers.  No one can have too much storage.  But it can be a challenge to find your home's hidden storage areas. Areas for storage can include, underneath a stairway, opening drywall to create storage between your wall's studs, or installing platform storage in your garage ceiling.

Install additional outdoor lighting. Exterior lighting will make your home glisten in the evening, accent your home's features and increase your safety. One lighting fixture can cost between $100-$250 to install, but at the same time you could receive a 50% return on your investment.  Installing motion-detecting lights can even lower some homeowners’ insurance premiums. Check with your insurance agent.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

by Kim Higgins

Mardi Gras in New OrleansMardi Gras, like Christmas, is a entire season - not just a one day celebration.  Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Most visitors will plan to arrive by Saturday, February 14, in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities.

If you're a new resident or visitor of New Orleans, you may need some explanation and guidance regarding Mardi Gras traditions. If you're going to hang out with local New Orleanians who grew up with Mardi Gras, here are a few helpful things to know.  

Mardi Gras is about music, parades, picnics, floats and excitement.  It's one big holiday in New Orleans!  

Remember to wear the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold during Mardi Gras. 

Mardi Gras "throws" are strings of beads, coins, and other trinkets passed out or thrown from the floats in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades to spectators lining the streets. Bring a large bag to collect all the beads and trinkets that you will catch during the parades.

Carnival is the season of Mardi Gras. Carnival Season begins on January 6, "King's Day" each year and ends on Mardi Gras Day. The main parades start about two weeks before Mardi Gras.

Know the definition for krewe (pronounced as "crew"). Krewe is an organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival season.

The New Orleans King Cake celebrates the Feast of Epiphany in honor of the night the Wise Men visited the Christ Child. A special cake in honor of the Three Kings began in Europe where a coin or a bean would be concealed inside of the cake for good fortune to the finder. New Orleans borrowed the tradition and the cakes are as simple or as decorative as you want, but they are designed with sugar in purple, green and gold, the official colors of Mardi Gras. You'll find a small, plastic King Cake baby baked inside. Whoever finds the baby usually buys the next cake.

Here are some of the parade highlights. For the complete parade schedules and routes, visit the Mardi Gras website.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12: The evening begins with The Knights of Babylon at 5:45 p.m., followed by the Knights of Chaos, and the all-female Krewe of Muses.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13: The Uptown parades start with the Krewe of Hermes at 6:00 p.m., followed by Krewe d'Etat and finally the Krewe of Morpheus.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14: Endymion rolls down Canal Street through Mid-City towards downtown starting at 4:15 p.m., the Krewe of NOMTOC offers family fun beginning at 10:45 a.m. In Metairie, the all-female Krewe of Isis rolls at 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15: The Sunday before Mardi Gras offers a town favorite: Bacchus, which typically features a celebrity guest or two. Krewe of Okeanos rolls at 11:00 a.m., followed by the Krewe of Mid-City, then the Krewe of Thoth and finally the Krewe of Bacchus. In Metairie, the Krewe of Napoleon rolls at 5:30 p.m.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16: Lundi Gras (called the Monday before Mardi Gras) offers up two of the biggest krewes: the Krewe of Proteus and Krewe of Orpheus. Both parades roll through Uptown starting at 5:15 p.m.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17: On Mardi Gras Day, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club (and their famous coconuts) begin rolling through Uptown at 8:00 a.m., followed by the Rex Organization.

Tax Deductions for Your Home

by Kim Higgins

Tax season is in full swing and you’re probably getting your paperwork in order, and considering the ways to minimize your tax liability.  There are various home-related expenses that you’ll want to be sure to deduct.

Here are some deductions not to overlook:

Mortgage Interest - The mortgage interest deduction is the homeowner’s best friend, being such a big money saver.  Homeowners can deduct the interest on their home loans, up to $1 million. 

Property Taxes - Check to see what you paid in property taxes in 2014 by looking at the annual statement you received from your lender.  If your taxes aren’t included in escrow payments made with your mortgage payments, look at your canceled checks.   Property taxes must be taken as an itemized expense. The tax you pay each year is deductible as long as you own your home.

Home Office - Homeowners who work from home can claim their office space as a deduction.  For example, if you use an extra room to run your business, you can take a home office deduction for that extra room.

Commonly, deductions for a home office are based on the percentage of your home dedicated to business use.  This means, if you use an entire room or part of a room for office use, you will need to calculate the percentage of your home dedicated to your business activities.For a full explanation of these tax deductions and additional deductions for your home office, refer to Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.  Also, contact your tax professional to understand the ins and outs of claiming a home office.

Home Improvements - Homeowners take all sorts of home improvement deductions each year.  Whether you added on to your home, put on a new roof, or made other improvements to your home, your home projects can assist to lower your tax bill when you sell your home. Try using the Zillow Digs free tool to get an idea as to how much a remodeling project will cost you and whether it will be a good return on your investment.

Energy Efficient Upgrades - Thanks to the residential energy tax credit, homeowners who made energy-efficiency upgrades in 2014 can claim up to 10 percent of what was spent on these upgrades.

Some of the qualified energy-efficiency improvements include:

  • Exterior windows, skylights or doors.
  • Insulation that improves home efficiency.
  • Storm doors and storm windows

The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit is valid until 2016 and has no dollar limit for most properties. Homeowners can claim 30% of the alternative energy equipment costs, as listed below:

  • Fuel cell property
  • Geothermal heat pump property
  • Small wind energy property
  • Solar electric property
  • Solar water heating property

Always save your receipts for ALL purchases, or it’s not a deduction!

DisclaimerThe information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.

NOW is the time to buy the home you've dreamed about!

by Kim Higgins

 

Don’t Wait! Move Up To The House You Always Wanted | Keeping Current Matters

The housing market has really stabilized and many homeowners are seriously thinking about up-sizing to the home they have always dreamed about. In most areas of St. Tammany Parish, prices are still below those of a just few years ago and the market remains stable for the most part. Most importantly, the current mortgage interest rates are still near 4% which is the biggest and most influential factor when budgeting for a new home.

However, sellers should consider that waiting to make a move while the mortgage rates are projected to begin increasing this Spring probably doesn’t make sense. As interest rates increase, the price of the home you will be able to afford to buy will decrease. Take a look at the chart  blow that illustrates this point:

Buyers Purchasing Power | Keeping Current Matters

 

 

In the mid-19th century, the only way for visitors to reach Mandeville, Louisiana from New Orleans was to take a steamboat across  Lake Pontchartrain – which they did, quite often.  Mandeville is the “first city” that is reached once you cross the lake and is considered the oldest inhabited city in St. Tammany Parish.  It began as a weekend destination for New Orleanians and eventually turned into a diversified small business and bedroom community.  Once the over 24-mile bridge over Lake Pontchartrain (The Causeway) was built, Mandeville began to establish itself as an independent and thriving city.

Today, Mandeville consists of a tightly-filled, 7 square mile city with dozens of retail locations, restaurants, new home subdivisions, and well-established and historical communities and homes.  Mandeville has been name numerous times byRelocate America as one of the Top 100 Places to Live.  Mandeville offers top rated schools in the state of Louisiana with Blue Ribbon and Five Star Schools, and they were named by Money Magazine as One of the Top 100 School Systems in the Nation’s Major Metropolitan Areas.  Mandeville has an extensive medical community with state-of-the-art, upscale health facilities with many smaller specialty clinics from which to choose.

Mandeville has many natural amenities, including a bird sanctuary and offers recreational and historical sites and events as well.  After crossing the bridge from New Orleans to Mandeville, the first thing that visitors will notice is the gorgeous live oaks that line the winding, scenic lakefront on Lakeshore Drive.  The lakefront is a family-friendly amenity with a bike and jogging/walking path as well as a children’s playground complete with a mini-waterpark.  Many warm, sunny days are spent by residents with their kids and pets walking, swimming, or playing music on the lakefront.  There is even a gazebo on the lakefront that is used for local festivals and music events.

Even though it is just 7 square miles of property, Mandeville, Louisiana is the home to two historic attractions – The Dew Drop Dance & Social Hall, which is considered the birthplace of jazz on the Northshore where Louis Armstrong performed and The Seven Sisters, the oldest living live oak in the United States.  As far as lifestyle, health and education, shopping, dining, entertainment, and historic and natural amenities, Mandeville, Louisiana is an ideal place to relocate or move to buy your home!

Search all Mandeville Homes For Sale Right Here!

A Tribute to the Tchefuncte River

by Kim Higgins

If you live in St. Tammany Parish you should be aware and have a sense of responsibility for the community and environment.  We have such beautiful landscape in this area and it makes you wonder, who is looking out for the best interest of the rivers and lakes that are not privately owned? The Tchefuncte River Foundation and The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum are hosting the 4th annual fundraising event, The TchefuncteTribute- "Lighting the way for the waters we love", to aid in the conservation of the Tchefuncte River and Lake Pontchartrain.   

In 2010, Kyle Catalano, a resident of Madisonville, along with board members, Jay Blossman, and Richard Reynolds created The Tchefuncte River Foundation.  The mission statement of The Tchefuncte River Foundation is to promote the interest and provide leadership in the restoration and maintenance of the quality of the waters of the Tchefuncte River Basin so that future generations can enjoy it's benefits. One of the organization’s project goals is the Tchefuncte River Eco-Park/Reserve.  This project would involve about 150 acres of restoration and remediation of the eastern shoreline of the Tchefuncte River. It will be the first Eco-Wetlands Park/Reserve in St. Tammany Parish with public use, education and natural habitat preservation. There are also plans to create a scenic boardwalk and trailhead that will lead to the Western point of the site creating a pier for photography, recreation and fishing.  You can see the Restoration Project on The Tchefuncte River Foundation’s website www.ilovemyriver.com.

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum is dedicated to “Bringing Louisiana’s Maritime History to Life.” The museum provides field trips, camps and outreach programs for students to participate in and hands-on activities related to the Lake Pontchartrain and its history.  You will also find an oral history collection of stories concerning the Lake Pontchartrain basin and history of the Wooden Boat Festival, and a collection of photographs relating to the Jahncke Shipbuilding Corporation in Madisonville. The Louisiana Maritime Museum has also managed the restoration of the Tchefuncte River Light Station which was originally founded and built in 1837.

On Saturday, August 2nd, The Tchefuncte Tribute- “Lighting the way for the waters we love” will benefit both The Tchefuncte River Foundation and The Lake Ponchartrain Basin Maritime Museum at the Pelican Castine Center in Mandeville from 7pm to 11pm.  Some of the local businesses have already contributed by donating their services The Groovy7 Band will be headlining the event and over 20 restaurants will be providing food and drinks including:

Mellow Mushroom

If you are truly passionate about St. Tammany Parish and the conservation of its beautiful lakes and rivers and want to experience a night of great music and food you can purchase tickets at www.LPBMM.org or register here!

 

 

Pineapple and Peach Salsa

by Kim Higgins

The other night I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner.  I had pork tenderloins in the fridge and I wanted something healthy to go on top of them. I had some cherry tomatoes that needed to be eaten and I had some snack packs of peaches and pineapples.  I threw it all together with an onion and it turned out delicious!

Pineapple and Peach Salsa

2 tbsp of olive oil 

1 vidalia onion chopped

1 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 snack size container of peaches with juice

1 snack size container of pineapple with juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in large pan.  Add chopped onions and cook on medium heat until translucent (about 10 minutes).  Add cherry tomatoes, peaches and pineapple with juice.  Cook for 15-20 minutes stirring constantly on medium to low heat until fruit and tomatoes are cooked down fairly well. Serve over pork chops or dish of your choice. 

Running with the Bulls in New Orleans!

by Kim Higgins

 

Running with the Bulls is this weekend, July 12th in New Orleans and the Northshore Roller Derby Team, The Lethal Ladies, will be there representing the Northshore.  If you have never been to this event you are in for an incredible treat!  Hundreds of roller derby girls from all over the country roll in for this special event and thousands of people register to participate in the run.  

The roller derby girls (the Bulls) will decorate their helmets with horns and runners will usually wear a white cloth with a red sash. The object of the game for the runners is to get through the route without getting spanked on the butt by a Bull.  The object for the Bull is to spank as many runners as they can with their plastic bat. 

The runners begin at the starting line and the Bulls are posted throughout the route.  Once the runners approach, the Bulls are released and chase the runners toward the gauntlet.  The gauntlet is lined on each side with the Bulls with bats in tow.  The runners try to dodge the swings of the Bulls as they race through to the finish line.  Some runners like to taunt the Bulls but this is a sure-fire recipe for a good spanking! 

All is well at the end of the race where the Bulls and Runners come together to drink Sangria and party New Orleans style.  Whether you are running through the streets or watching from the sidelines, this event will surely be a good time! For more information on the registration and location please visit www.nolabulls.com.

Market Report Update for West St. Tammany Parish

by Kim Higgins

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 258

Contact Information

Photo of Kim Higgins Real Estate
Kim Higgins
Realty Executives SELA
1502 W. Causeway Approach, Suite D
Mandeville LA 70471
Direct: (985) 705-1910
Office: (985) 778-0657

The information contained in this web site is provided by the listing agent or broker for the sole purpose of consumers' personal use and to assist consumers in identifying properties for potential purchase. This information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. You should independently verify the information regarding property that interests you. Neither the listing agents/brokers, Kim Higgins, nor Realty Executives SELA, shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints or other mistakes. This information is subject to change without notice. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice. You should know that, given the volume of listings, delays in removing or posting listings, in correcting misinformation, or in supplementing information on this web site are inevitable. If you have an interest in certain properties, then please confirm their availability and facts as soon as possible. Neither the listing agents/brokers, Kim Higgins, nor Realty Executives SELA, make any express or implied warranties for any of the information provided herein to a potential purchaser of a listed property or any consumers.

Kim Higgins, ABR, CRS, ePRO
Licensed in Louisiana, USA

Realty Executives

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