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Adam Watkins Makes Commitment to Excellence

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Hattiesburg, MS – Adam Watkins, CRS, GRI, SRS, a real estate agent with The All-Star Team, Realtors® has earned the Commitment to Excellence endorsement from the National Association of Realtors®. The endorsement goes to Realtors® who have demonstrated knowledge and competency in 10 core areas of real estate practice:

  1. Client service
  2. Professional reputation
  3. Real estate law
  4. Realtor® Code of Ethics
  5. Equal service to all (Article 10 of the Code)
  6. Advocacy of real property ownership
  7. Trust and integrity
  8. Use of technology
  9. Data privacy
  10. Areas of practice

The C2EX endorsement is available only to Realtors®. It is earned through a self-directed program that enables users to assess and build on their competency in each of the core areas. Launched in November 2018, this innovative program sets the standard for what it means to be a professional in the real estate brokerage business.

“Earning the Commitment to Excellence endorsement is a true accomplishment and an affirmation to consumers that you stand for ethics and professionalism in your work,” says 2019 NAR President John Smaby. “Advances in technology and online user experience are making our business more and more seamless, and that’s fantastic,” Smaby says, “But with new technology can come vulnerabilities. A C2EX endorsement offers consumers the ease of mind that they have a skilled adviser, committed to conducting business at the highest standards, helping them through what may be the largest purchase or sale in their life.”

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Adam Watkins is Broker Associate and Co-owner of The All-Star Team, REALTORS, a full-service real estate brokerage with locations in Hattiesburg and Petal, MS. For more information, visit www.allstarteam.com or call 601-450- 1683.

A Note from Delois...

by DeLois Smith

     Welcome Again the glorious days of Autumn! Last Thursday morning I announced to the support team, “Buyers will be awakening today!” Temperatures had dropped from 97 degrees the day before to 83 degrees. Buyers did, in fact, start calling for appointments to see properties they had been observing for a while! Not only do buyers and sellers become more energized, but the entire population seems to move faster. Those autumn breezes, sunny skies, bright moonlights, freshened gold and orange landscapes, and high-energy athletic events all contribute to friendly and enthusiastic encounters with friends, neighbors, and clients.

     Our team is focusing on a productive 4th quarter with buyers finding it hard to resist the historically low rates- down to average 3.62% in August 2019 versus 4.54% in 2018, as per Freddie Mac. First-time buyers in the U.S. recorded 31.6% of sales in August while individual investors purchased 14% of sales. Foreclosure and short sales represented only 2% of sales in August. Why not consider purchasing an investment property before these unusual opportunities pass?

     Welcome Kati McClendon, Buyer Specialist, and Savannah Watkins, Client Care Specialist! Our team is excited about the unique talents, skills, community involvement, and educational preparation of these young ladies to serve in these important roles. A team focus is to consistently look for ways to deliver the best possible service to you, our current and past clients.

     Lordy! Lordy! Adam is Forty! What pride and joy it has been watching and encouraging the smart and skinny 19-year-old junior at William Carey become the current President of Mississippi Association of Realtors; husband to the brilliant, beautiful Amelia; and father of two lovely young girls, Abigail and Hannah! Along the path, there has always been advanced achievement on many levels. First and foremost, Adam has built a very admirable and productive real estate career. Just a few of his many awards are #1 Business Student in the WCU 2002 graduating class, Tulane’s 2013 MBA graduating class Highest Honor Student, HAAR Realtor of the Year in 2008 and 2018, and also Mississippi Realtor of the Year in 2018. Beyond these achievements, Adam maintains focus on serving as an active deacon, soloist, director of finance, and numerous other servant roles at Carterville Baptist Church and the community at large in leadership positions. You make us very, very proud at The All-Star Team!!

     In early November, our team will be focusing on sharpening our skills through education and interaction with top Realtors from the U.S. and around the world at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) convention in San Francisco. This is an annual investment in equipping our team with knowledge and skills to bring the highest level of representation to our clients. We believe you deserve our very best!

     Hattiesburg continues to make us proud of our citizenship! Two of our local public schools are in the Top 10 in Mississippi- Petal is #1 and Lamar County Schools is #9 in the state. Hattiesburg recently was named as the #1 college town in Mississippi. Venture Church has been recognized as #29 in the U.S. among growing churches. Hattiesburg has often been listed among the most desirable retirement communities in the U.S.

     The rich resource of talented, hard-working, and creative Hattiesburg citizens is our greatest strength. I believe in the future of our greater Hattiesburg area and our ability to creatively work together for the quality of life we want to pass to future generations.          

Wha to Expect from a Home Inspection

by KCM

You made an offer and it was accepted. Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report,
the better.

3. References – Do your homework. Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to discuss their experiences.

4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.

5. Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible they might miss something they should see.

Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection, so they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, fireplace and chimney, foundation, and so much more.

Bottom Line

They say, ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible, so you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

Hattiesburg Names #1 Best College Town in Mississippi

by WDAM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hattiesburg is ranked as the best college town in Mississippi, according to a study from Reviews.org.

Experts gathered a list of college towns and narrowed it down to cities with fewer than 250,000 residents.

Data was used from the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze things such as population, student population, rental costs, college education rates, transportation access, unemployment rates, and bar availability.

To get precise rankings, researchers narrowed the factors down to cost of living, unemployment rates for 20 to 24-years-old, and easy access to the city.

Experts Predict a Strong Housing Market for the Rest of 2019 | MyKCM

 

We’re in the back half of the year, and with a decline in interest rates as well as home price and wage appreciation, many are wondering what the predictions are for the remainder of 2019.

Here’s what some of the experts have to say:

Ralph McLaughlin, Deputy Chief Economist for CoreLogic

“We see the cooldown flattening or even reversing course in the coming months and expect the housing market to continue coming into balance. In the meantime, buyers are likely claiming some ground from what has been seller’s territory over the past few years. If mortgage rates stay low, wages continue to grow, and inventory picks up, we can expect the U.S. housing market to further stabilize throughout the remainder of the year.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR

“We expect the second half of year will be notably better than the first half in terms of home sales, mainly because of lower mortgage rates.”

Freddie Mac

“The drop in mortgage rates continues to stimulate the real estate market and the economy. Home purchase demand is up five percent from a year ago and has noticeably strengthened since the early summer months…The benefit of lower mortgage rates is not only shoring up home sales, but also providing support to homeowner balance sheets via higher monthly cash flow and steadily rising home equity.”

Bottom Line

The housing market will be strong for the rest of 2019. If you’d like to know more about our specific market, let’s get together to discuss what’s happening in our area.

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

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5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | MyKCM

 

Below are 5 compelling reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report 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, in many areas of the country, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy 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 that is needed for a normal market. This means that in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

Historically, a homeowner would stay an average of six years in his or her home. Since 2011, that number has hovered between nine and ten years. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners 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 will be given the freedom to move.

Many homeowners were reluctant to list their homes over the last couple years, for fear that they would not find a home to move 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 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. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler, as buyers know exactly what they can afford before shopping for a home. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time needed to close a loan is 43 days.

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. There is currently ample inventory for sale at higher price ranges. This means if you're planning on selling a starter or trade-up home and moving into your dream home, you’ll be able to do that in the luxury or premium market.

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year. If you’re moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage) 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 move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important. Call The All-Star Team, REALTORS at 601-545-3900 and let us help you.

 

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.

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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.