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Local Lenders Benefit Buyers

by Alisa Sewell, All-Star Buyer Specialist

    As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, I assist clients throughout their home-buying process.  Working with many first-time purchasers, I discover, understandably, that they are full of questions since they have never been through this experience.  I find myself acting as an educator and coach as much as a licensed real estate agent.  When I meet with potential buyers during a buyer’s consultation, one of the first things that I determine is if they have been pre-qualified or pre-approved with a lender.  I often receive that “deer-in-headlights” look that cues me into their answer.  I explain that the first step in purchasing a home is to meet with a lender who can determine a comfortable price range in which they are qualified based on factors, such as income, debt, and credit score.  One of the most common questions that clients ask me is whether they should use a local lender or not.  I advocate unequivocally to working with a lender who is a part of the community because buyers receive incredible expertise, reliability, and service.  Do not just take my word for it.  I reached out to several mortgage loan officers from our Hattiesburg market area who offered their insights.

Robin Livingston with Community Bank of Mississippi

  1. The option to do a quick online application where a computer runs an analysis sounds convenient, but I have never had a borrower regret slowing down and gathering all the information to make a great financial decision that they will feel good about years later.  A good loan officer is also a financial advisor.  The wrong loan product can cost you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.  You need someone who is willing to discuss the pros and cons of each loan product and provide an analysis of why one loan product is superior to another.  An experienced loan officer will consider your long-term goals as well as your short term needs.  Many first-time buyers make their decision based on rates alone; however, this is not always the best tactic.  Other factors like down payment and the cost of private mortgage insurance should be considered as well.
  2. The reputation of your loan officer and company affiliation can sway the outcome of your offer.  Sellers are vesting as much into this transaction as the buyer.  In a multiple offer situation, I have personally seen a seller select a lower offer amount simply because of the reputation of the prequalifying lender.
  3. During the loan process you will be required to open up all of your personal information.  In a world of constant threats of identity theft, it is smart to do your own due diligence and make sure you are dealing with an actual licensed lender.   How do you as the consumer investigate the integrity of your loan officer?  The NMLS Consumer Access site can be searched free of charge at www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org .  You can confirm that your lender is licensed in the proper state for your transaction and see if your lender has been subject to any disciplinary actions.
  4. With a local lender you are not just a transaction number… you are our neighbor.  We want to do a good job and want to earn your future business.  We may see you in the grocery store or our kids may go to the same school.  Our personal reputation is riding on how you feel at the end of this transaction. Our goal is to make it a great one!​

Tammy Guyse and Daniel Holder with Academy Mortgage

  1. We know your market.  Our mortgage professionals are experienced, and knowledgeable not only in loan origination but in recognizing the nuances unique to our area.  We all live and have purchased homes here, too!  We’ve also partnered with only the best real estate agents and homebuilders in the area to deepen our understanding of the local market.  With our combined experience and Academy’s broad portfolio of mortgage solutions to choose from, we will customize the best loan program for your situation.
  2. We care about this community.  Bringing homeownership to our neighbors and friends through our mortgage products solidifies our communities and revitalizes our neighborhoods.  But in addition to providing these services, we believe we have a responsibility to give back to the communities who have supported us for more than 29 years.  To fulfill this commitment, our Branch is actively involved in local service projects, sponsorships, and area associations.

Lynn Walton, Citizen’s National Bank

  1. If you use a local lender who has a brick and mortar building, you can choose which lender you prefer to work with, and each time you have a questions or comment or concern you have one person (or maybe two if there is an assistant available) to work with you during the entire process.  You may not want to go in for a face-to-face visit, but local lenders are available by internet, phone, and, in most cases, by cell phone even after business hours.
  2. Being technically-oriented, millennials can benefit from using a local lender because most lenders today are up-to-date with technical software.  If preferred, loan application documents and all disclosures can be emailed, and you could sign with “e-signature.”  The income documents and other documents needed for loan approval can be scanned and emailed.  BUT, you don’t lose that personal experience. 
  3. Let’s talk about a sense of community too.  This same local lender has usually numerous employees that live alongside of you and your community.  They understand the market you are in, the trends that are happening now as well as what is to come that may affect your market.  Those same employees are supporting the same local venues as you are, such as restaurants, dance studios, gymnastic studios, and they are supporting the community in which you live.
  4. And lastly, these corporations are paying taxes, as well as advertising and donating funds for your use and support of local events and charities. 

The famous quote by Mark Twain in the title of this article can be used to describe home ownership in America today. Last week, the Census revealed that the percentage of homeowners in the country increased for the first time in thirteen years.

story in the Wall Street Journal gave these new home ownership numbers some context:

“The annual increase marks a crucial turning point because it comes after the federal government reined in bubble-era policies that encouraged banks to ease lending standards to boost home ownership. This time, what’s driving the market is a shift in favor of owning rather than renting.

‘This is market, market and market…There’s no government incentive program in sight that is having this effect,’ said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, ‘This is back to basics.’”

In a separate report comparing the rental population in America to the homeowner population, RentCafé also concluded that the gap is now shrinking.

“Undoubtedly, the recession had a great impact on home ownership…However, it looks like it takes more to discourage Americans from buying a house than that.

As the years go by, it seems more and more certain that the fact that renting has seen a sudden gain in popularity is more a reaction to the economic crisis than a paradigm shift in the Americans’ attitude toward housing.”

America’s belief in home ownership was also evidenced in a recent survey, by Pew Research. They asked consumers “How important is home ownership to achieving the American Dream?”

The results:

  • 43% said home ownership was essential to the American Dream
  • 48% said home ownership was important to the American Dream
  • Only 9% said it was not important

Bottom Line

Home ownership has been, is and will always be a crucial element of the American Dream.

“Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters aged 55 or above rose 28 percent, while those aged 34 or younger only increased 3 percent… Meanwhile, more than 5 million baby boomers across the nation are expected to rent their next home by 2020, according to a 2016 analysis from Freddie Mac.”

    This makes sense in the short term for many reasons. If you are moving to a different part of town or a new region of the country, you may decide to rent until you pick the perfect home in an area you love. However, is renting a good long-term strategy?

A mortgage payment remains fixed. Rents, however…

The Census Bureau recently released their 2017 third quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether you should rent or buy your next home, you should take this into consideration.

Bottom Line:

One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home instead of renting. 

A 12-week Year....a unique way of goal-setting we all can use!

by Adam Watkins

     And just like that, a New Year has begun!!!  Our team couldn't be more excited about the possibilities that a new year brings, and we couldn't be more thankful for the blessings that our loyal friends and clients brought us over the course of 2017.  If I could sum up 2017 in one word, it would be: "change."  If there was anything that 2017 taught me, it was that change is ever-present - and there are seasons in our lives where the changes are more acute than at other times (at least it was for me in 2017).  Change can be incredibly productive, though, as it forces us to adapt and search for new normals, improve our skills, and deepen our faith.  With that said, I'm looking forward to the "promise" of 2018 and anticipating more opportunities to embrace change and grow!

     Our team customarily meets in late November/early December to review the year that is closing and make plans for the upcoming year.  This year was no different as we gathered our agents and full-time staff in our conference room to review the year's "Hits and Misses" - both as a team and individually.  This practice allows us to determine what elements of our business need renewed focus and improvement as well as identifying the areas that went well and making sure to preserve them.  Each team member gets an opportunity to look ahead and develop goals for the upcoming year as well.  For this year's planning session, we applied a new concept called "The 12-Week Year." Amelia and I discovered this concept while reading Buffini & Company Magazine - an industry publication produced by the company of real estate entrepreneur and industry guru, Brian Buffini.  The concept presented in the article was developed by Brian Moran, the founder and CEO of The Execution Company, which is a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies who hope to boost growth and productivity.  I'm including extended, edited excerpts from that article to help explain the concept.  Its very simple to understand and applicable to any business or personal endeavor.

     The idea behind "The 12 Week Year" is periodization, a concept utilized by the U.S. Cycling Team in which athletes train in four-to-six week cycles that focus on one aspect of cycling, such as sprinting or hill climbing, instead of trying to improve everything at once.  After each cycle, there's time for rest and recovery before moving on to the next skill or discipline.  Moran felt this concept could be applied to business, as well as other areas.  Many businesses and people make the mistake of trying to be great at everything at once.  Often, instead of achieving greatness, they become overwhelmed and lose sight of their goals.  The fact is, every week/day/moment counts! We need to be conscious of the reality that execution happens daily and weekly, not monthly or quarterly.  It [the concept] is simple: focus on improving a skill or achieving a goal for 12 weeks and, on the 13th week take time to recover.  Instead of setting annual goals, create company wide and departmental goals to achieve during each 12 week period.  Then post these goals where they can be seen and recommit to them each day.

     If you want to change your actions, start with your thinking.  The 12-Week Year is organized to help you change the way you think, and eventually the way you act.  Your thinking influences your actions and your actions impact your results.  When you change your thinking, your actions will begin to realign and you'll start to experience breakthrough results.  One of the biggest reasons people don't reach their goals is they try to achieve them over a long period of time - often, 12 months. No wonder it's so easy to lose the motivation to achieve them! The beauty of working in 12-week sprints is it creates a sense of urgency to take action in a brief time span that allows you to get everything done while maintaining your  motivation.  Instead of procrastinating or quitting when it gets tough, you'll continue to have the motivation to focus on the execution.  The results will be more pronounced and will show in the increased amount of things you get done each day.  [Think of life as a] series of sprints.  You'll get more done working in focused bursts than you will by working continuously with no breaks.  Change your thinking and start working in 12-week intervals and you'l be amazed by how much you can accomplish.     

     This concept resonated so strongly with me personally as it's something I have applied with success (without knowing it) to my personal health and fitness journey that began in 2014 and continues now 4 years later!  It was exciting to introduce the principle to our team, and by the end of the team planning session all who participated had outlined an area of focus for the 12 weeks that began January 1st and inscribed their goal on large sheets of paper which are hung in our conference room for each team member to continually see.  In fact, they are placed in direct eye sight of each team member along the walls based on where each team member traditionally sits for our staff meetings.  This will keep the goals at the top of our minds, and provide an opportunity for accountability to occur as each week as a report on that plan of action will be given by each team member. 

     You may find the 12-Week Year method applicable to your own business or personal life.  It certainly isn't limited to real estate but transcends to a variety of areas that you may have "resolved" to address as a new year begins.  Brian Moran has written a book entitled "The 12 Week Year," that you may wish to check out or order.  More information is available at 12weekyear.com. Our team is looking forward to seeing the results of this fresh approach and how these plans translate to serving our clients and friends better than ever in 2018!!!

Get Staging with The All-Star Team, REALTORS

by

Blessed to be Neighbors

by Adam Watkins

     Here we stand with 2/3rds of 2017 in our rear view mirrors, and what a year it has been so far!  Does anyone else feel like we've lived a decade in just 8 months?  From the inauguration of a new President in January on the national level, to the locally dramatic impacts of a huge tornado ripping through the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal the very next evening! Fast forward to August where we experienced the excitement of the first total solar eclipse in decades, witnessed over almost the entire continental United States, and then days later, the arrival of Hurricane Harvey to the Texas Gulf Coast.  The damage and torrential flooding from that storm is still not fully known at this writing.  It's been an exhausting year in many ways.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with so many who have been impacted by this storm.  

     It can be easy to become discouraged and angry if you spend too much time watching the news recount and opine on these events and hundreds of others that I will not take the time to detail.  Suffice it to say, there is a lot of turmoil in our world, in our country, and in our communities - both real and imagined - precipitated by the activities of nature and man.  Recently, Amelia and I made the decision to reduce our intake of the news media because we recognize that regardless of what is being reported in the media - both on television and online - that it's no where near the full story.  It often ignores the good that we can find all around us, and it leads us to a place where we are tempted to begin viewing our neighbors as our enemies as opposed to our friends. Good news and good people/neighbors are out there, mind you - I guarantee it!

     How do I know?  Because the simple goodness of people and their desire to serve others was on full display in January when thousands of volunteers flooded our Hub City to give us a helping hand after many had lost everything in January's tornado.  Our family worked alongside those coming to the aid of those in our community, and many of them camped out in our church's parking lot for weeks afterward.  They loved us and wanted to help.  Most of you have similar memories of those days 8 months ago, I'm sure.  It's often in these of times of utter devastation that we're shaken from our television sets and mobile devices, and we discover who our neighbors are and learn to love them in spite of differences (real or perceived) that may exist.

     Right now, thousands upon thousands of volunteers are on their way to the aid of millions impacted by the affects of Hurricane Harvey.  By the time you receive this issue of the Star Chat, most of you will have already heard testimonies of the work that is taking place there.  Some of you may be amongst that number of volunteers, and many of you will know volunteers who left with only a moment's notice to aid victims of this latest disaster.  It's uplifting to witness, and I encourage you to focus on and engage in those efforts.  It can help balance our perspectives and force us to look beyond our "screens and stereotypes," and into the lives and hearts of others.  What a novel idea.

     REALTORS will be a part of this effort as well!  The Mississippi REALTORS Disaster Relief Fund was established after Hurricane Katrina to provide aid to property owners who've experienced damage and displacement from their properties as a result of disasters such as this one.  Since 2005, it has distributed more than $4 million dollars in aid to those impacted by various disasters both in Mississippi and other states, including aid to victims of flooding in Louisiana last year.  No doubt, REALTORS from all over the country will engage with this current disaster in similar ways, as they always do!  REALTORS view ourselves as caretakers of communities, and we are both obligated and honored to put that belief into action!

     It's a good time to reflect on the relationships we have with our neighbors, and the silver lining of the opportunity to serve your fellow man in a time of need and witness and experience the good of others.  It's out there!  At the end of the day, we have been blessed to call the finest land on earth our home, and we at The All-Star Team, REALTORS, are so thankful to serve you as our neighbors.  May God bless you all...wherever you may be...and in whatever circumstance.  We are thankful for you!

Adam and Team

1,500 Properties Later...

by Adam Watkins

       Although, I've been a part of The All-Star Team since late 1999 (almost 18 years), this past month marked a milestone in my real estate career as I completed my 15th year as a real estate licensee and REALTOR (I write it that way because those two are not one in the same)!  A lot has changed in our market, on our team, and in our lives during these years.  There's also a lot to be thankful for in those 15 years - most of all, those of you who took the chance on a young 22-year-old guy in those early days who had a big dream and a desire to be an ambassador for the community he loves.  Now, close to 1,500 properties later, I can say that I've not only gained experience, but most importantly friendships that continue to bless my career as well as my life.  I'm also grateful for those members of our team who've been a part of the journey - those who are currently serving along side of me, and those who've served alongside me on this journey.  Thank you to DeLois and our team of agents and staff - both past and present who have supported me along the way.  Thanks of course to my wife, Amelia, who has been able to work alongside me daily in this business for the last 10 years and who will celebrate 14 years of marriage with me in May.  Most importantly, thank you to God for blessing my life with the ministry of this career.

       I've always been a little bit of a statistics junkie.  When I first started in the business, I would truly get lost in them.  In fact, for years before I was licensed, I did the research for our team's monthly market updates (like the ones we provide with this newsletter each month).  Calculating the supply and demand for each price range was something I looked forward to doing.  One time I created a chart showing the change in supply and demand over a period of several years!  Add a couple of kiddos and managing a real estate team, and it gets a little more challenging to devote the time it takes for me to produce these things manually these days.  Plus, technology and our MLS systems are more robust to do these things automatically now, which helps.  It always intrigued me how quickly our market levels could change, though.  That's why when folks ask me how the market is, it's important to realize how complex markets are and how quickly they change in order to answer such a question.  For instance, a major disaster, sudden economic downturn, or other factors can quickly impact a market.  Many of you recall the days after Hurricane Katrina and how our market became under supplied for a period of time. Nearly 2 years later in August of 2007, the exact opposite was true as the supply of new construction homes that were listed in the MLS system increased by approximately 400% in only 30 days time (end of July to end of August 2007). Suffice it to say that real estate markets can be compared to the weather in Mississippi.  They can change quickly and vary from location to location!

       So what about now?  Well in general, and for many of our locations (Petal and Oak Grove in particular), we've been experiencing low supply levels in the price ranges between $100k and $200k in our market.  This is partially due to the reduction in inventory in these price ranges following the January 21st tornado.  Several homes that would have been in this price range were removed from the market, and the need to replace those homes increased.  As we migrate to the $200k to $250k ranges, the inventory is abundant in the City of Hattiesburg, but in the 4 to 5 month range in Oak Grove, Petal, and Sumrall, again underscoring the principle that markets are local in nature and driven by specific factors within each market.  Where there is agreement in our market is once you go over $300k, where our supply levels are quite high and our selections are abundant.  We began noting the oversupply in these price ranges particularly in the $300K to $500K range in the first and second quarters of 2016.  For a while we were trying to determine why this was. The fact is that purchases in this price range are driven by strong employment in job sectors where income levels are high relative to the median incomes in our market.  After reviewing previous years sales activity, we were able to pinpoint the oil and gas industry as one job sector that produces jobs meeting this criteria which has experienced difficulty over the last 18 to 24 months.  And, as a result, the number of buyers entering this price range has been reduced when compared to the years prior to 2015.  

       Perhaps some of your eyes are glazed over by the discussion of statistics, but I thank you for sticking with me (assuming you have).  For those who are curious, hopefully your understanding of our market at this moment has been increased.  Either way, I hope what you will see in our team a desire to understand and study our market in such a way that when you hire us, you're hiring a group who values understanding these factors and how they impact your property investments.  When you're recommending REALTORS to others, or choose to hire us to serve you, please know that we make it our business to understand our markets so that we can best counsel and advise.  Our mission is to serve you again...and again with the best service and knowledge in our marketplace.  Have questions about our market update?  Feel free to e-mail me at adam@allstarteam.com.  I'll be happy to discuss it with you. It's just one of the ways in which we strive to be your Greater Hattiesburg Market Experts.

 

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!!!!

Adam

 

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. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Contact Information

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.