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Say “farewell” to your roasting pans ladies and gents, because they are now a thing of the past. There’s a hip new way to cook an entire chicken, and it doesn’t even involve a dish.

You ask…but what in the world would I cook that chicken in? Well, a watermelon of course!

Hear us out. While the idea certainly sounds a bit wacky, it’s actually wacky enough to work. How do we know? Because someone has attempted it before, and has video footage to prove how it panned out.

YouTuber Emmymade is always up for preparing unusual dishes she can share with her followers. After reading an April Fools’ Day recipe in The New York Times for a whole chicken cooked in a watermelon, Emmymade decided to see if the recipe would actually work.

emmymadeinjapan / YouTube

One thing you need to keep in mind is that you need a pretty big watermelon to pull this recipe off. Either that, or buy a smaller chicken to compensate.

There’s no denying the fact that this recipe is more of a summer dish, since watermelons are in season at that time, and larger ones are more plentiful. Still, this is definitely a good recipe to keep in your back pocket so you can wow all of your friends and family at your first summer cookout this year.

It’s actually easier to cook an entire chicken in a watermelon than you would think. All Emmymade did was cut the top off of the melon, then she dug out just enough space to make room for the chicken. After that, she seasoned the chicken with a few simple ingredients.

emmymadeinjapan / YouTube

The seasonings Emmymade tested, along with the taste of the melon, results in a chicken that is equal parts sweet and savory. All you have to do is put the chicken-encased watermelon in the oven for five hours…and tada!

Once the chicken is done, it is as tender as can be. The watermelon serves as the perfect serving dish, or you can take the chicken out too if you’d prefer. For added flavor, Emmymade removed the chicken from the watermelon and then crafted a gravy from its juice.

emmymadeinjapan / YouTube

Want to give this recipe a try? Just follow Emmymade’s instructions in the video below.

Who ever would have thought that cooking a chicken in a watermelon would actually work? What’s next…frying burgers in grapefruits? Now we know that the possibilities are endless!

How much do you know about down payments?

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How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments? | MyKCM
 

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?

There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 - 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.

There are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?

Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800...They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Bottom Line

If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available.

 

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability | MyKCM
 

There have been many headlines decrying an “affordability crisis” in the residential real estate market. While it is true that buying a home is less affordable than it had been over the last ten years, we need to understand why and what that means.

On a monthly basis, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), produces a Housing Affordability Index. According to NAR, the index…

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

Their methodology states:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”

So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Here is a graph of the index going back to 1990:

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

It is true that the index is lower today than any year from 2009 to 2017. However, we must realize the main reason homes were more affordable. That period of time immediately followed a housing crash and there were large numbers of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). Those properties were sold at large discounts.

Today, the index is higher than any year from 1990 to 2008. Based on historic home affordability data, that means homes are more affordable right now than any other time besides the time following the housing crisis.

With mortgage rates remaining low and wages finally increasing, we can see that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to purchase a home today than it was last year!

Bottom Line

With wages increasing, price appreciation moderating, and mortgage rates remaining near all-time lows, purchasing a home is a great move based on historic affordability numbers.

The Forecast: Sunny & Warm in Mississippi

by Adam Watkins

This Mississippi Summer has certainly turned up the heat, hasn't it? Seems like I recall some of my friends lamenting over being tired of Winter several months ago.  I assured them that they were guaranteed MUCH warmer days in Mississippi - some might argue a disproportionate share.  And now those warmer days are here in full force!  It's funny, because those same folks who didn't like the "cold" days are unhappy with the heat.  Perhaps the promise of Fall in a couple months will bring relief to their senses.  Of course, it's nice if we could spend our days in an eternal Spring or Fall, but I'm sure some of us would grow weary of that as well. Have you ever noticed how much we discuss the weather?  It's the go-to conversation piece because everyone experiences it, and everyone has an opinion on it.  

Real estate is a lot like the weather - it has seasons where it's hot, cold, mild, or warm (figuratively).  It's also a routine topic of conversation because, like weather, it impacts everyone.  And, like weather, everyone has an opinion on it!  In recent months and years, we've been fluctuating between a mild to warm market in the Greater Hattiesburg Area.  Some of my colleagues have referred to it as a "hot" market.  I tend to be a bit more conservative in that characterization, because I think it can send an incomplete picture of the market and perhaps is a bit reckless to say.  There are certainly pockets in the market where it might be considered "hot."  In general a "mild-to-warm" market environment has held true for most of this year in price ranges up to around $450,000 where things begin to "cool" off.  Continued low interest rates and low unemployment continue to influence the market overall.  Those influences appear to be sustainable for the coming months.  Your All-Star Team, REALTORS, is ready to help you understand which areas of the market might provide opportunities for you and your family based on recent trends.  If you're interested in scheduling a time to sit down with me or one of our team members in our West Hattiesburg or Petal office to discuss overall market trends and how they impact your real estate investment(s), please let me know.  You can contact me at adam@allstarteam.com to discuss arranging such an opportunity.  We are passionate about our role as educators on our market and welcome the opportunities to partner with our clients in meaningful ways regarding their real estate investments.  To borrow from my weather analogy, consider us your real estate "meteorologists."

I'll close with a brief report on my work as President of Mississippi REALTORS and some details of a recent visit I made to some of our members.  Most of you know that 2019 has included the opportunity to serve as the leader of Mississippi's largest trade association - nearly 6,500 REALTOR members strong.  November 11th will mark the end of my tenure in that role, but I can only say what an honor it has been to serve our industry in such a unique way this year.  I could not do it without the steady help of our team, and especially my number one fan and help-mate, Amelia, who works along side of me in the business on a 24/7 basis.  Because of their help and support, and the trust of many of you, the sales production that I have been responsible for this year has increased, even with the added responsibilities!  So for us, working under these pressures has actually enhanced our productivity on behalf of our clients!  We, and I especially, are so thankful for your trust day-in and day-out.  We are thankful to God for sustaining our business and providing new opportunities along the way.  We diligently aim to be good stewards of those opportunities. 

One of the great blessings of serving in this leadership role has been the opportunity to criss-cross our great state and learn from REALTORS and community members from the various communities that make Mississippi such a unique and special place to live.  Last week, I found myself in the Mississippi Delta visiting brokers, agents, and Boards of REALTORS' members in Cleveland, Clarksdale, and Greenville.  I was reminded of the rich cultural heritage - particularly to the arts and music - that this region of ours holds.  I drove through Merigold, where McCarty's Pottery is based, as well as worked in a visit to the Grammy Museum-Mississippi, located on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland.  Incidentally, the Grammy Museum-Mississippi is one of only two such museums in the world, the other being in California, and is a testament to the comparatively large contributions that Mississippians have made in the world of music over the decades. Truly the Mississippi Delta is a Cultural Capital of sorts for our state and for our country.  I was so proud to be reminded of the hundreds of artists and musicians who have shaped the artistic development of our country - many of whom were born and raised within our borders.  I was also reminded of how proud I am to be a Mississippian! The best news is all of this is only a few hours drive away from Hattiesburg, and it's so affordable to visit!  Being reminded of how many wonderful places we have to see, and things we have to do within this great state, has been a highlight of this journey.  We should spend more time exploring our state and sharing the opportunities with our families and those who visit us.  I'd love to hear your stories or see your pictures of your explorations around our state!  Don't hesitate to share them with us!  And if you haven't learned by now, Mississippi is the Hospitality State, which means that whether you are native-born or transplant, we're all part of the family! 

May the next season we enter bring more opportunities for us all to explore, grow, serve, and learn.

Watch dog...

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"When your security cameras pick up motion, you watch the live feed to see what’s going on. Then this happens..."

 

Our 2019 Great American All-Star

by Linda Seifert

Our Great American All-Star this year is Callison Richardson who hails from Columbia, South Carolina.  She and her husband Jay came to our area when he accepted a job as Assistant Professor of History and Director of The Honors Program at William Carey University.  She received her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and Masters in Public Administration from The University of Georgia. 

Callison has served in the capacity of Principal for the United Christian Academy in Hattiesburg for the last 3 years.  This unique school which is located in the old Presbyterian Christian School location on Lincoln Road, (space donated by the Woodland Presbyterian Church), is based on Christian principles and thrives on volunteerism.  The school started with 7 students from low income families and stemmed from a backyard ministry by Mr. Jack Kennedy to reach children living in poverty.  Callison has worked tirelessly to help create an environment for the current and future students so they receive the best possible educational experience from a school which is funded by, local churches, individual private donations and a small grant from United Way of Southeast Mississippi. 

Extraordinary efforts on the part of the small administration, staff and over 70 volunteers have grown the student population to 18 young people.   There are some heartwarming stories about the results of this unique school model that Callison has shared with us.  One such story is of a student who came into the school reading far below her 4th grade level and now as a 7th grader is reading on a 9th grade level.  What a testament to this young student’s willingness to learn and to her teachers and mentors in preparing her for higher education and a productive life. 

Volunteers come and cook breakfast and lunch in the school kitchen daily or stock the freezer with homemade meals.  Another big help with meals this past year was provided by Christian services and Give and Take Kitchen.  It is the volunteers who partner to make UCA run smoothly.  They not only prep meals but mentor, tutor and provide extracurricular classes including P.E., art, drama, rocket building, community service and cooking.  One special partnership is William Carey University’s CAREY ABOUT ART PROGRAM. 

Callison has been a fierce supporter of this wonderful educational ministry, often driving the school van to pick up the children to begin their school day.  This young energetic woman has a heart for service and the skills to make things happen!  We are proud to name her as our Great American All-Star for 2019.  Congratulations Callison and wherever life leads you we know you will make a positive difference.    

What is Important to Boomers when Selling their House? | MyKCM

 

If you are a “baby boomer” (born between 1946 and 1964), you may be thinking about selling your current home. Your children may have finally moved out. Your large, four-bedroom house with three bathrooms no longer fits the bill. Taxes are too high. Utilities are too expensive. Cleaning and repair are too difficult. You may be ready to move into a home that better fits your current lifestyle. Many fellow boomers have already made the move you may be considering.

The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Report. The report revealed many interesting tidbits about both categories of baby boomers: younger boomers (ages 54 to 63) and older boomers (64 to72). Here are a few of the more interesting topics.

Percentage of Buyers who Looked Online First

  • All Buyers: 44%
  • Younger Boomers: 46%
  • Older Boomers: 44%

Where Boomers Found the Home They Purchased

The two major ways buyers found the home they purchased:

  • All buyers: 50% on the internet, 28% through a real estate agent
  • Younger Boomers: 46% on the internet, 33% through a real estate agent
  • Older Boomers: 36% on the internet, 35% through a real estate agent

Distance Seller Moved

The distance between the home they purchased and the home they recently sold was much greater for boomers than the average seller.

  • All sellers: 20 miles
  • Younger Boomers: 27 miles
  • Older Boomers: 50 miles

Tenure in Previous Home of Seller

The percentage of older boomers who lived in their previous home for more than 20 years was almost twice the amount of the average seller.

  • All sellers: 16%
  • Younger Boomers: 20%
  • Older Boomers: 31%

Primary Reason to Sell their Previous Home

  • Want to move closer to friends or family
  • Home too large
  • Retirement

View of Homeownership as a Financial Investment

  • 83% of Younger Boomers see homeownership as a good investment
  • 82% of Older Boomers see homeownership as a good investment

Bottom Line

If you are a boomer and thinking about selling, now might be the time to contact an us to help determine your options. Call The All-Star Team at 601-545-3900.

Happy Independence Day from The Team!

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5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Summer

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5 Reasons to Sell Your House This Summer | MyKCM

 

Here are 5 compelling reasons listing your home for sale this summer makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Index  from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other for the same home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in most of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in his or her home was six, but that number has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. Many homeowners have a pent-up desire to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years due to a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners are granted the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their home over the last couple of years for fear that they would not find a home to move in to. That is all changing now as more homes come to market at the higher end. The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until additional inventory comes to market before you to decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. Buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 43 days. (Last numbers available.)

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has created a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, it will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to these questions. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

 

There have been many headlines decrying an “affordability crisis” in the residential real estate market. While it is true that buying a home is less affordable than it had been over the last ten years, we need to understand why and what that means.

On a monthly basis, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), produces a Housing Affordability Index. According to NAR, the index…

“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”

Their methodology states:

“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”

So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Here is a graph of the index going back to 1990:

The Ultimate Truth about Housing Affordability | MyKCM

It is true that the index is lower today than any year from 2009 to 2017. However, we must realize the main reason homes were more affordable. That period of time immediately followed a housing crash and there were large numbers of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). Those properties were sold at large discounts.

Today, the index is higher than any year from 1990 to 2008. Based on historic home affordability data, that means homes are more affordable right now than any other time besides the time following the housing crisis.

With mortgage rates remaining low and wages finally increasing, we can see that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to purchase a home today than it was last year!

Bottom Line

With wages increasing, price appreciation moderating, and mortgage rates remaining near all-time lows, purchasing a home is a great move based on historic affordability numbers.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 186

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The All-Star Team, REALTORS®
Bringing you home...again and again!
4 Willow Bend, Suite 2A
Hattiesburg MS 39402
601.545.3900
800.335.6477

The All-Star Team, REALTORS brings you over 200 years of accumulated experience along with the most innovative marketing strategies in the real estate industry. We specialize in the real estate properties located in Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Petal, Sumrall, Purvis, Columbia, and the entire Pine Belt region. Put The All-Star Team, REALTORS® to work for you as you consider your next home sale or purchase. Experience the team approach to real estate and make us your REALTOR® for life! See how The All-Star Team, REALTORS® really is bringing the Pine Belt home again and again.