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Looking to move up to a luxury home? Now's the time!

by The KCM Crew

If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! We recently shared data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer, or can be found at a discount.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a recent Washington post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs, and are looking to step into a luxury home… Now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.


US Housing Market is Moving Into 'Buy Territory'!


According to the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, the U.S. housing market has continued to move deeper into buy territory, supporting the belief that housing markets across the country remain a sound investment.

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:

In today’s housing market, is it better to rent or buy a home?

The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major cities for comparison. The researchers “measure the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.” 

While most of the metropolitan markets examined moved further into buy territory (16 of the 23), markets like Dallas, Denver, and Houston are currently deep into rent territory. In these three markets, it is estimated that renting will top homeownership 7 out of 10 times.

Due to a lack of inventory, the home prices in the Dallas, Denver, and Houston areas have increased by 11.6%8.3%, and 6.6% respectively. Home prices in these areas will begin to return to more normal levels once residents realize that renting is not the best option, therefore bringing home affordability back as well.

Bottom Line

The majority of the country is strongly in buy territory. Buying a home makes sense socially and financially, as rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year. Protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Surviving the Storm

by Adam Watkins

The last time I recall this feeling was over a decade ago - August 29, 2005.  That date of infamy certainly has not been replaced, but Friday, January 20, 2017, will be added to 8/29/05 as a date I will never forget.  Where were you that Friday evening and early Saturday morning?  On Friday afternoon, I was on my way back to Petal from Tupelo and Corinth, MS, after having visited their respective Boards of REALTORS on behalf of our state association.  Following a busy week, my awareness of impending weather was extremely limited, I must admit.  I arrived home that evening excited to see my girls and somewhat exhausted from a busy week.  By Saturday morning, so much had changed.  An EF-3 tornado had traveled from just north of Purvis through Hattiesburg, devastating my beloved William Carey University, and beyond into Petal.  Over 1,000 homes impacted and 4 lives lost, not counting the businesses destroyed.  So much quickly changed for our community, and so much was simultaneously placed into a proper perspective.

The past couple of weeks have been consumed with recovery and clean up.  And though this is a new experience, and one I confess that I never want to relive, it's a familiar one.  Hurricane Katrina, the 2013 tornado, and now 4 years later - a larger tornado, have developed a resiliency in our area that inspires pride and confidence in our community.  We don't wish for these challenges, but let's face it.  We've been here before.  We know how to rise from the devastation, and in the process, we grow closer and stronger as a community.  It's inspiring to witness and be a part of it, and it's a reminder of the beauty and quality of South Mississippians.  If you're new to our area, I hope you'll take note of this special quality amongst our people and seize the opportunity to embrace it for yourself.  

By late Saturday and Sunday, thousands of volunteers were working to help those devastated by the events of January 20th.  Amelia and our girls gathered with our Carterville Baptist Church family that Sunday morning to worship and pray.  We were also greeted with the news that Samaritan's Purse would be basing their operations from our church campus.  Mississippi Baptists were setting up operations at Petal First Baptist, and hundreds (if not thousands) in our Hattiesburg/Petal community were rolling up their sleeves, opening up their hearts, and giving of their resources to help.  It truly has been a beautiful picture to witness and take part in.

The recovery will take months and years, but it's reassuring to know that we are a part of a community that cares, gives, and loves.  There are dozens of organizations contributing to the rebuilding of our beautiful Hattiesburg Metro.  If you're interested in serving but don't know where, teams are currently setting out daily to Hattiesburg and Petal at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. from Carterville Baptist Church in Petal (1115 Carterville Road in Petal).  Regardless of your experience and skill, you can be used.  Won't you join us?  All you have to do is show up!  Together, we will bring Hattiesburg, Petal, and the Pine Belt home 1/20, and along the way, your real estate team is ready to do its part!

Your REALTORS for life...

Adam & Team

Welcome 2017!

by DeLois Smith

       Change! Change! New Opportunities! New Optimism!  Looking around here in Hattiesburg, we see great opportunities in excellent housing values and commercial investments.  New listings are coming in regularly as the New Year is beginning.

       Investors are moving more aggressively toward new projects.  The Indigo Hotel is one of those pivotal new developments in the recently renamed area called “Midtown.”  With more than fifteen spaces available, downtown is becoming a popular place to hold events.  The Bottling Company can accommodate up to 1,000 guests.  Cloverleaf Mall has an entirely new group of tenants.  Our Team Commercial Realtor, Steve Floyd, has been the manager there for 22 years.  Steve has some office and retail spaces with interested new tenants, but with some openings currently not committed.  The Western Corridor has numerous new construction sites and new business locations springing up from Turtle Creek Mall to Bellevue.  Our team has several of these locations listed for sale out west as well as downtown, up and down 49 North and South and some new locations in Petal too.      

       New team events were planned recently for 2017 during a two-day session led by Adam Watkins.  We carefully looked back at 2016 to determine “our hits” – what we felt we did well.  We especially looked hard at “our misses” – areas we felt we can improve in 2017.  The exercise is in keeping with our long-term company goal “to build client relations based on honesty, loyalty, understanding, accountability, and to use our creativity and market expertise to help you, our clients, navigate the complex real estate market.” As a result, we are committed to create long-term benefits for you, our clients.

       Upcoming events in the first quarter are Real Estate Investment Seminars January 26th and March 23rd scheduled at the Canebrake Club House at 6 pm each evening.  March 17th will be a fun day trip to Fairhope Arts and Crafts show hosted by Brenda Blackwell, Linda Siefert, Paula Claret, Lauren Pace, and Alisa Sewell.  Stay tuned for more new upcoming events throughout the New Year!

       Rising interest rates is a hot topic, but for a move described as “lift off” our interest hike so far is awfully tame.  I believe it is realistic to expect at least a 1% over-all rise this new year.

NAR Chief Economic Advisor, Lawrence Yun, Expects These Changes in 2017:

  • There will be no doubt a short-term stimulus to the economy.
  • Changes to Dodd-Frank financial regulations will occur.  A clear position would be the lifting of compliance costs on small banks.  Around 10,000 local banks have traditionally been the source of funding for construction and land loans.  With less regulations, these banks can make more loans and will boost home building activity – something greatly needed in the current new construction shortage.
  • There could be a move away from stringent mortgage underwriting to more normal lending.  Credit is still tight for mortgages evidenced by very high credit scores among those who are getting approved.  One important reason for overly-conservative lending   is due to the exposure of random law suits by the government on lending institutions in recent years.
  • There could be less regulatory land-use and zoning burden for home construction, and thereby lower the cost of building.
  • Homeowners in flood zone and who suffer natural disasters may get less relief from the government.  Currently this federal program to assist in wild fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters is $24 billion in the hole.

       Mississippi is one of three states which has been lagging behind the gains being experienced throughout most of the country.  However, these and other changes related to the overall economy should help both the residential and commercial markets including our area in the upcoming year.

       In 2017, don’t wait for spring to sell your home!  Home sellers often wait until spring to put their properties on the market.  However, local weather and other market variations can shift the ideal listing time.  Right now, new inventory is getting more attention because there are fewer homes available  Also, the fact that rates will be rising puts more buyers in the market. Source:  Bottom Line.  We are prepared to focus on effective results for home buyers and sellers and investors for any of your friends or family. Jennifer Upton, our Marketing Director, just reported 490 unique buyers with over 3,000 page views on our website in one day, the last business day of 2016! Our team is excited about the new opportunities that await in 2017! 

      Thank you again and again for your continued support and encouragement.  Many of you have dropped by or received your new, user friendly calendars in the mail.  If somehow you have missed the 2017 calendars, please call our office at 601-545-3900.  

      May you and your family be blessed with good health and a very Happy New Year!

                                                                                                                        DeLois and Team

Home for Christmas

by Alisa Sewell, Buyer Specialist

       During the holiday season and as time passes, many of us reflect on Christmas memories of the past.  Most of these memories were created in our homes.  Unlike my children who have lived in six different houses, I only lived in two homes during my childhood. The first Christmas memory that I can recall is when my family lived in a red brick, ranch style home in Forest Park, a suburb of Atlanta.  After dinner on Christmas Eve, my mom suggested that my dad take my sister and me out for a ride to look at Christmas lights.  Upon our return, I discovered, much to my amazement, that Santa had already been to my house because toys were piled underneath our artificial Christmas tree and our stockings were filled with goodies.  I bragged to all of my neighborhood friends that year that Santa had visited my house first. In retrospect, I imagine my parents did not want us to wake them at three o’clock Christmas morning ready to open gifts.

       Another Christmas memory that I recollect is when I was ten years old.  My family lived in a slightly larger ranch style house with a basement.  Knowing that her daughters would never step foot down there alone because it was dark and gloomy and being the artistic person that she was, my mom transformed the basement walls into a circus with giraffes, an elephant, and a seal balancing a ball on his nose.  This particular Christmas, I had asked for a stereo/record player combo, and my sister had asked for a watch.  However, my mom insinuated that we should not get our hopes up this year.  I sulked that Christmas season.  Our family tradition was to open one gift Christmas Eve, and the remainder of gifts were opened on Christmas Day.  My mom suggested that we open all of our gifts Christmas Eve, probably for the same reason Santa had arrived early that one year.  I was not happy about this decision until I found out that it involved a treasure hunt.  My sister and I had a small box to open that contained a note that sent us in search of multiple scraps of paper throughout our home.  We found notes in closets, cabinets, and drawers until we discovered a note directing us to the basement.  We raced down those stairs and into the familiar circus scenes we had grown to love.  Our note gave hints on where to find the next note.  We must have reached into what seemed like a hundred Mason canning jars until we found the last note, which said to go look under the Christmas tree where this hunt had begun.  I dashed past my sister up those stairs to find the stereo and watch that we had wished for underneath our familiar Christmas tree. 

       The last Christmas memory is indelible because it was my senior year of high school and would be the last Christmas that my family would spend under one roof.  Having only been asleep for a short time Christmas Eve, I was startled awake by people yelling.  I thought I was dreaming but quickly realized it was not a dream when my mom burst into my room instructing me to get dressed.  Either she was not making much sense, or I was still half asleep, but she kept saying something about a gas leak.  I ran to look out the bathroom window to see huge flames escalating into the winter’s night sky far in the distance.  Emergency personnel were evacuating our neighborhood, and my mom instructed me that we would need to drive all of our vehicles.  Because of the mass exodus from our neighborhood, I was not able to keep up with my parents’ cars, and there was no such thing as a cell phone at this time. In my baby blue VW Bug, I followed my neighbor to the police station.  Eventually, I was reunited with my parents, and, at three o’clock in the morning, we were assured that the gas leak had been contained and that we could return safely to our home.  For once, it was neither my sister nor I who awakened our parents too early on Christmas day.  My dad made us omelets for breakfast, and we opened gifts before going to bed as the sun was beginning to rise.  I was grateful our home was still intact, and it never looked more inviting than that eventful Christmas day.  As we approach this holiday season, my wish is that we would reflect on the houses that we have purchased and sold and on the fond memories that made them a home.

Welcome Fall 2016

by DeLois Smith

      A Big Welcome to the delights of fall we cherish - i.e. invigorating energy, cooler temperatures, brighter daytime and nighttime skies, football season, bright autumn landscapes, Halloween, MAR & NAR conventions for REALTORS®, and Thanksgiving Season. Fall 2016, however, also has a very serious tone in our community, state, and nation.

      Locally, we are considering whether we believe the future expansion of Hattiesburg into the 98 West Corridor and Rawls Springs areas will be beneficial to the citizens of these communities and the healthy growth of the Hub City at large. I personally believe a better choice for the 98 West area is to develop the 7th small city in Lamar County called Bellevue. This choice will open opportunities for local leadership, require less taxation with greater local and area benefits, and create better potential for increase in property values. In fact, I just learned last week that Lamar County management of 16th section land will not lease any of their holdings because they believe values will increase dramatically if Bellevue City becomes a reality. If you have not signed the petition, please consider doing so soon. The petitions are located at 21-22 Bellegrass Blvd. and the Canebrake Clubhouse.

       The Fall 2016 Market Pulse shows jobs are growing slowly (Hattiesburg’s job growth is currently -1.17%, but is estimated to grow 30.10% over the next 10 years.) and interest rates remain low. The housing inventory, however, is becoming more limited – especially in some area and pricing categories (see your market update insert).  Affordability continues to be a concern, especially for first time homebuyers plagued with college debt and lack of savings for down payments.

       Team REALTOR® Scott Holmes reported to our Team this week on a recent Hattiesburg Board of REALTORS® Forum designed to help create better professional results from builders, REALTORS®, appraisers, and lenders. Working through current challenges of ever-rising material and labor costs for new construction is a priority for builders as they work to hone to different price points required by the needs and demands of the public we all serve.

       Refining all of this to make it fit the Dodd Frank Consumer Protection Act and many other government regulations of the lending industry, as it relates to the required appraisal process, is a big effort for all of the professionals involved.

       “Buying a home is on average 34.8% cheaper than renting,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. This is a beautiful season to buy or sell a home so you can move and get settled before holiday season begins. Furthermore, it is a less crowded time to move with more flexible moving schedules and cooler temperatures for the heavy work of moving day. Our five Team Buyer Specialists are ready to guide you or your family or friends through the home buying process with caring devotion, knowledge, and expertise to smooth out your home buying experience.

       We are facing the most important elections of our lifetime. Let us do our best to elect leadership that will bring back the values of our heritage and bring honor to the high positions of public service!

       Thank you again and again for your trust, loyalty, and generous encouragement. Warmest wishes for a beautiful Fall 2016! 

Why settle for 1 agent when you can get the entire All-Star Team?

by Adam Watkins

I am finding it terribly hard to wrap my mind around the fact that 2/3rds of 2016 is now in our rear view mirror! Fall is upon us which means back to school and football.  Whether it be high school, college or professional - Americans relish the opportunity to gather around and watch their favorite teams compete in a weekly cycle of team sport that will fill our weeks all the way until next February!  It's also a good reminder of the power of a team when they're working together and leaving their best on the field each week.  It takes each player putting their heart and soul into playing their position in order to get the win.  It also requires teams to recruit new talent and bring them into the team over time.  Beyond just the players on the field stand coaches, trainers, and support personnel working behind the scenes to create a truly dynamic team. 

I'm quickly reminded of our real estate team.  We function differently than our competitors because we decided nearly two decades ago that our ability to serve our friends and clients was increased when we relied on the strength of many instead of only one or two.  There have been countless times that I will share with a potential client or past client, "When you hire one of us, you hire all of us."   As I was thinking about who the "us" is in our team, I was quickly reminded of the unique attributes that make each member special - not simply what they do, but elements of who they are.  We couldn't do the work we do without each one of them.  So, I'd like to share with each of you the names of the members of our team, their role on our team, and a few descriptive attributes that I believe bring true value to our clients and our team as we work together to provide the best possible service to those who choose us to represent them as they purchase, sell, and invest in property. In no particular order, (but the first 3 are our newest Buyer's Specialists):

Alisa Sewell, Buyer Specialist. Steady, diligent, works ahead of schedule, prompt, and trustworthy.  Alisa is a dedicated mom and was a teacher prior to entering real estate.

Rebecca Bryant, Buyer Specialist. Unafraid, focused, available, seeks to truly understand, and a direct communicator.  Rebecca is also mom and a pilot!

Lauren Pace, Buyer Specialist.  Cheerleader, vibrant, approachable, concerned about making a genuine connection with clients, and social media expert. Lauren's son, Noah, is a social media rock star!

Debra Pace, REALTOR.  Team player, selfless, encouraging, always willing to fight for the underdog, and keeps us grounded.  Debra spends countless hours in community service and will serve on our associations Board of Director's next year.

Dana Quesenberry, Listing Manager.  Incredibly smart, dedicated, loyal, willing to stay up late to get the job done and strives for the best possible answer to our market value questions. Dana's so efficient and dedicated that she works from the Coast part time, plus she has the best laugh!

Jennifer Upton, Marketing Director.  Superb multi-tasker, creative, quick at critical thinking and analysis and believes in our team concept and how it benefits our clients.  Jennifer also has a wicked sense of humor and knows how to create a laugh no matter the circumstance.

Scott Holmes, REALTOR.  Dedicated, detailed, problem-solver with an engineers mind and a father's heart. Scott is also involved with our local association of REALTORS (he'll be president in 2018.) He's great at technology and never fails to find ways to remind us of how great his hair looks!

Brenda Blackwell, Buyer Specialist. Charming, magnetic, disarming, positive, inquisitive, who makes everyday an adventure and is always looking for the opportunity to go somewhere new. She's unbelievably smart and humble at the same time.  She's sort of a rule breaker too - but only if the rules she's breaking don't really matter. Linda Seifert, Buyer Specialist.  Diplomat, wordsmith, and guru on style and appropriateness and manners.  She is intensely loyal and trustworthy.  Her knowledge and history of our market is extensive. She's not scared to join a party or start one if the mood strikes her!

Patty Herrington, Petal Office Manager/Property Manager.  Inquisitive, positive, eager to learn and grow.   She is a lady seeking Christ in her daily life.  She is able to be direct when necessary and make tough decisions. Her daughter isn't half bad at playing softball either!

Ame' Karoly, Client Care Specialist.  Artistic, curious, world traveler.  Ame' is our "voice with a smile" to our clients when they call. She enjoys creative pursuits with her friends.  Ame' lived in China for several years before moving back to join our team!

Savanna Watkins, College Intern - Petal.  Soft-spoken, smart, and very capable. She's a Watkins, so capability comes with the territory (I'm only a little biased). Technologically savvy and a very quick learner.  Savanna is considering real estate as a long term career!

Lauren Lott, College Intern - Oak Grove. Also soft-spoken, smart, capable, and versatile.  Super-quick learner and able to adapt and work efficiently.  Lauren has plans to become a teacher.

Gatlin Hubbard, Courier (a.k.a. "Sign Guy).  Eager to please, bright personality, who's also creative (he's a gifted videographer).  He knows how to rock a pair of ear buds while attending to the signage demands of our team.  An Evil Knievel of sorts...competitive motorcross and wake boarding!

Hulene Jones, Office Administration (Evenings and Weekends). Loyal, trustworthy, reliable, consistent, efficient, "one-in-a-million."  She is a direct communicator.  Hulene has been with the team since before it was a team; we would be quickly lost without her talents.  I'm partial because she loves my girls (Abigail and Hannah) so well!

Kim Moore, Staging Assistant.  Responsive, efficient communicator, dedicated, and creative. Kim makes routine, thorough checks of our vacant properties and provides assistance to our Home Stager. Before moving to Hattiesburg, Kim helped operate a private airport in Florida!

Vickie Iverson, Home Stager. Ultra-multi tasker, brilliant organizer, artistic with a business mind-set. Able to manage multiple projects and do so with ease. Vickie is also a very talented painter; for DeLois' 75th birthday, she painted a personal portrait.  It hangs in DeLois' office!

Steve Floyd, Commercial Broker.  Positive, Godly man, full of integrity and a lot of fun to hang out with. On top of that he's full of experience and knowledge in his field. He lives by the golden rule. He is a die hard Southern Miss fan, too, and Husband of the Century to his wife, Toni.

Dennis Baum, REALTOR. Determined, resilient, unafraid, fashion conscious, politically minded, and willing to offer and receive feedback with the best. Dennis made his way to us from the "Big-D" (Dallas) and brought with him one of his best attributes (and he won't mind my saying this), his wife: Dixie!

Paula Claret, Closing Manager.  Cool-headed, teacher, well-spoken, trustworthy, and dedicated.  Paula is eager to do the right thing in all circumstances and feels a deep obligation to deliver on promises to our clients. When necessary, though, she can tap into her South Louisiana roots and cut right to the point!

Emily Shattles, Marketing Assistant/Photographer.  Creative, eager to please, stylish, and always smiling.  Always willing to lend a helping hand and chip in where needed.  Emily also leads a Bible study class at her church and is working on finishing her degree!

Amelia Watkins, Team Administrator.  Fast, accurate, selfless, ultra efficient, and multi-tasker extraordinaire.  Gets things right the first time nearly every time she attempts it. She's able to create a system to tackle any problem and keeps the checks flowing and categorized at The All-Star Team, REALTORS.  I'm a bit biased since we share a household, but she's the smartest person I've ever known!

DeLois Smith, Listing Partner.  Driven, focused, energetic, and determined.  She never tires of this business and is always excited at the opportunity to solve another problem or master another challenge. She's been instrumental in raising the bar of professionalism in real estate in our region.  On top of that she's a mom, granny, and wife as well.  She and Lavon just celebrated 40 years with a trip to Europe!

And so, this is a snapshot of who we are.  Collectively, we aim to be a dynamic and synergistic team of "All-Stars" that you're delighted to call upon when you need us and proud to recommend!

Go team!!!!



The All-Star Team, Realtors Update from DeLois

by DeLois Smith

Dear All-Star Team Clients and Friends, 

      Thanks to so many of you who helped make our 16th Annual July 4th Celebration a “best ever” event! Your great patriotic spirit, participation, enthusiasm, and encouragement made us all feel enriched and uplifted. Special appreciation to our program presenters: our veterans’ voice of the Pine Belt, Ted Tibbett; Dr. Nathan Barber, MS State Guard Chaplin; Brittain Allgood, dance performer; Joey Fillingane, State Senator; Dr. Taylor & Kerrin Hightower and Sam Bruton, USM Music Department performers; Joe “Val” Overstreeet, Commander US Navy, Retired, keynote speaker; William “Bill” Thomas, Commander US Navy, Retired and wife Sally and 32 members of the Thomas extended family, Great American All Star 2016 Honoree. Adding to the fun and festivities were boat cruises around Canebrake Lake made possible by the sharing of his beautiful boat by Judge Prentiss Harrell. 

      The beautiful Canebrake setting offered a great opportunity to make memories and we were able to take snapshots that will be remembered. We are sending some of these snapshots to our guests sometime very soon. Also visit us on Facebook to enjoy the participation all over again! C.D. and Mary Johnson said it best, “Many thanks for another special July 4th celebration. It was so inspirational and I’m sure we all left with renewed feelings of patriotism.”

      Team Name Change . . .  We are changing our name! To our long time friends, this change may seem odd. The truth is we should have done it quite some time back because of the participation of so many within our team. We are officially The All-Star Team, REALTORS®. Adam Watkins now takes on a major roll in administration and Steve Floyd has top leadership in our new Commercial Division. This change is NOT in any way directed towards my retiring. I will probably await my promotion to my Heavenly Home first. All it means is that we are working toward more growth under the banner of The All-Star Team, REALTORS®. 

      Team Work . . . Special Team recognition has been announced recently by REAL Trends via The Wall Street Journal. The All-Star Team, REALTORS® transactions were ranked in the top 1% nationally of residential teams. Ranking #117 out of the Top 1000 for 2015. This translated into exceptional productivity for Hattiesburg, MS - with current average sales of $156,053, contrasted with high-end markets in cities in New York, California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut with average sales at more than $1 Million. 

      One of our team’s early repeat clients made us especially proud this week. Riki Hyde’s husband built their house, causing a great amount of sadness as she began to prepare to sell the property. She says that she is not sure she could have made the move if it were not for the capable assistance of our Staging Professional and Color Expert, Vickie Iverson, who so capably helped plan for the Estate Sale. Following the sale, Vickie helped Riki update the floors, complete the painting, and get the exterior of the home washed down. The pre-sale effort helped secure the contract and close the sale in 90 days – even with the “slowed-down” closing process our market is experiencing.  Riki’s statement to me was that we have a “full team of specialists who perform with amazing harmony.” Thank you Riki for the honor of serving you and your family!

      40th anniversary . . . Lavon and I will be celebrating with an Eastern European River Cruise down the Danube in mid-August. This will be a Dr. Milton Wheeler style trip led by Robert Byrd, who traveled dozens of Dr. Wheeler’s amazing trips. Thankfully, Robert has elected to extend Dr. Wheeler’s life experiences to us and we are grateful. Our last trip with Dr. Wheeler and Donna was also their very last - 2011 to Turkey. 

      Our team is blessed daily by you, our loyal clients. We remain grateful for your support and encouragement. 

Blessings to you and your family,
DeLois and Team

Why Home Buying is Like Dating

by Lauren Pace

My title at work is a “Buyer Specialist.”  Sounds fancy, right? Everyone I’ve met has told me that this job would be such a good fit for me, so I had set myself up with very high expectations.  I buckled in, ready to take off.  During my first couple of months as an agent, I have encountered many different types of buyers.  I wanted to share some of my encounters with my buyers.  If I could compare it to something that would make it relatable, it would easily be relationships. 

So let me compare home buying to dating.  It’s the first date... you show up kind of nervous, not sure how things will go or if you will “click,” but you’re sure to try your hardest to make a good impression. Once the “date” is over, you go your separate ways and hope that you hear back from them, sooner rather than later.  Now, there are several ways that this relationship can carry out.

Let’s start with the non-committal relationship.  I’m still new in this business and I get excited when someone asks to see a home because, naturally, my innocence believes that they are serious home buyers and want to purchase today.  I received a call one Saturday to see a home forty minutes away from my house. What did I do? I threw my clothes on and went, of course! However, in the non-committal relationship, they just used me to get inside the house and never contacted me again.  So, in comparison, this would be the dating relationship that was used for a free dinner and then never replied to my request for a second date.  Maybe because we didn’t click, which is totally okay, or maybe it was because someone was never interested in purchasing a home anyway.  Who knows?

Now we have “The One That Got Away.”   I met one buyer while I was purchasing kitchen chairs for my home.  It was kind of a “love at first sight,” comparison.  She was super sweet and we seemed to have similar personalities before she even knew I was a realtor.  After seeing my email address, she made that connection and told me she happened to be looking for a home.  It was my first day on the job and I was galloping with excitement as I left the store, and not because I got an awesome deal on kitchen chairs.  We had excellent communication, similar interests, and we spent a whole day looking at homes together.  None of them seemed to fit all of her needs and wants, but I assured her that I would keep a look out for her.  A home hit the market on a Saturday night and it was PERFECT for her. I called her to let her know and we went to see it that next morning, basically in our PJ’s.  Her and her husband loved the home and told me to write up the offer (a REALLY good one, at that).  As they were standing outside of the home, praying over their decision, I was inside leaping and shouting through the house because this would have been my first sale.  However, later that night, I received a text saying that they just weren’t ready and wanted to post pone a couple of months.  Just like a relationship in “the one that got away” situation, it broke my heart and shattered my optimism.  It took me a little while to get my pep back in my step, but I have become hopeful that we might reunite in the future.

With my first couple of months as an agent, I’ve had both extremes of relationships.  With every client that I meet, I learn something new and continue to grow in my career.  Just like in relationships, you learn, grow and those memories help you be a better person in the future.  Now I have the pleasure of serving several clients that are serious buyers and sellers and I look forward to meeting many more! I am still buckled in, ready to take off in this career, but I’ve realized that everything is in Gods timing and I can’t wait to see what “relationships” he has in store for me in the future. 

A Few Things Home Sellers Should Never Do

by Realty Times

When you prepare to put your home on the market, you hope that everything will go the way you imagine and that is your home will sell for over listing price the very first day it goes on the market.

The reality isn't so rosy. The market may slow down. Your home may get few showings or no offers. You may have to lower your list price. Or, your home may not sell at all because you made a big mistake.

So if you're thinking of doing any of the following four no-no's, stop yourself right now.

Don't ignore the market. Every market is different and those differences can impact the sales price of your home, the number of days your home spends on the market, and whether your home sells or not. You have to face the reality of market conditions to influence the success of your home's sale. If home prices are going up, you'll do well, but it will be more expensive to purchase your next home, unless you move to a less expensive market or home.

And if prices are going down, you may not net what you were hoping for, but your next purchase may be a bargain, if you stay in the same area.

Don't hide problems the home may have. If you've had a major water leak or had your foundation fixed, you need to disclose that in a formal seller's disclosure form for all potential buyers to see. While it may be tempting to check the I-don't-know box, remember that any lie can come undone. You don't want to face legal problems because you tried to hide the truth. And if your buyer wants to know more, you can show the receipts for what you did to fix the problem.

Don't overprice the home. When your home is overpriced, it's underdressed for the party. Everyone notices that it doesn't quite fit in. Buyers who can afford your home quickly notice that your home doesn't quite measure up to others in the same price range. Buyers who could afford your home if it were priced correctly are unlikely to make offers because they'll be searching in a different price range.

Don't ignore your agent's advice. A real estate agent is a professional. When she or he tells you that you'll get a better offer more quickly if you'll declutter, stage your home, make certain updates or repairs, it's a proven truth. Buyers are more negative when they see homes that need work, and tend to make offers or withhold offers based on their feelings.

If your agent showed you a comparable market analysis, he or she may have suggested a listing range to price your home. If you go over that, you're risking a negative response from the marketplace, long days on the market, and probable price reductions.

Do things right from the beginning and you'll have a smoother, easier, and more profitable transaction.

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