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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

Swept yards...A Dying Tradition

by Brenda Blackwell

For those of you who have listed their home with The DeLois Smith All-Star Team, you are familiar with our “Tuesday Tours” which give our agents a preview of what is coming on the market.  A few Tuesdays ago as we were touring one of our future listings, I looked into the backyard of one particular home and asked DeLois, “What’s on the seller’s “to-do” list to get this yard ready?”  She said “They have already done wonders with it.  You should have seen it before!”  Well this yard was very level and fenced in and would eventually be a wonderful yard… if it had some grass.  I don’t know why but looking at that yard of dirt took me back to one of my childhood memories.  I remember visiting my great Aunt Zelma Doughty in Greensburg, Louisiana and I am not sure if I actually saw her doing this or my grandmother telling me…but she swept her front yard!  She used a broom made of twigs.  Sweeping dirt…I was fascinated by this practice and decided to find out why this became a tradition once common in the deep South.

 It appears that the concept of a swept yard grew out of necessity.  Because the inside of houses were so hot during the day, the washing, cooking and eating was moved outside where it was cooler under the shade of trees and everything could be swept in the fire.  The swept yard became the most important “room” in the house.  Plus with no grass and debris there was no place for pesky bugs to hide and less likely that a fire could be started and spread through grass should a cinder ignite while cooking.

That explanation makes plenty of sense to me…but another article I read stated the real reason for sweeping yards is solely about the tracks of poisonous snakes!  Yards were swept every morning but only after going completely around the house to check to see if there were any snake tracks going under the house.  Snakes frequently travel at night and a snake moving over grass would leave no marks.   So if snake tracks were found the entire family did not rest until the snake was found!  As much as I love old things…I am so thankful that our homes now are sealed-up with closed foundations!

The irony of this is that a snake was found in the very house we toured with the dirt backyard!  But don’t worry…we found it, removed it and of course, I will never tell you which house it was!  Also you can be sure that sweeping your yard will not be on the “to-do” list from DeLois and Vickie when listing your home!

Happy thoughts!

Brenda

        For decades our team has had the privilege of serving and growing as the Greater Hattiesburg Area has grown.  Since the late Nineties and Early 2000’s, we’ve spent significant efforts growing our unique team model to serve the residential needs of thousands of clients throughout our region, extending our specialities into the Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Petal, and surrounding markets during that time.  Along the way, we’ve spent thousands of man hours developing systems to deliver unparalleled service to our clients - sellers, buyers, and also many investors of residential real estate in the Pine Belt.  Increasingly, DeLois and I began exploring the idea of using those well-developed support systems to provide service in the area of commercial real estate sales and management.  After all, we have hundreds of clients who have commercial interests that warrant the best possible representation - and we certainly have clients with the need to include commercial real estate in their investment portfolios. In considering the possibility of developing a commercial division, there were several things we were certain we needed when selecting the appropriate broker to lead its development - experience, integrity, and the desire and excitement to work as part of a team.  We believe we have found all of those attributes in Steve Floyd.

       Many of you are familiar with Steve’s work.  He is no stranger to Hattiesburg or commercial real estate, opening Steve Floyd Properties in 1997. For nearly 20 years, Steve has represented sellers, buyers, tenants, and owners of commercial real estate both in the Greater Hattiesburg Area, Mississippi, and around the country.  So, it is with great excitement that we announce our newest Broker Associate and team member who lead in the building and growth of our Commercial Sales and Leasing Division.  We believe that combining Steve’s wealth of experience and contacts with our unmatched support system and established client relationships will be a win for him, our team, and our clients.  He and his wife, the former Toni Tadlock, make their home in Oak Grove.  You could say real estate is a family business for them.  In addition to Steve’s many years in commercial real estate, Toni is the daughter of Joyce Tadlock, a long time broker and fixture in our area’s real estate market.  So, we feel quite honored to welcome the Floyds to our team!

        In the coming months, you will begin seeing evidence of the launch of our commercial division as we begin integrating Steve’s currently listed inventory along with a newly developed commercial brand on the “For Sale” signs of commercial properties throughout our region.   Our website will also feature an added segment devoted to commercial real estate and its associated investment opportunities.  Additional features will be included in our publications and our social media presence.  Our mutual goal is to take something great and make it excellent, and we’re confident that Steve’s experience will bring an entirely new set of opportunities to all of our clients as we achieve this goal.

        Perhaps you have felt the need to add commercial real estate to your investment portfolio or know someone in need of professional assistance in this area.  Currently, Steve is preparing to close sales on several multi-year lease properties with reliable returns for investor clients he represents.  Perhaps such an opportunity is worthy of your consideration.  Or, maybe you have a piece of commercial property in need of maximum exposure or management.  Either way, it’s exciting to finally be able to extend our reach into a new area with someone as capable as Steve on our team to lead the effort.  So, if you or someone you know has need of commercial real estate services - purchasing, selling, leasing, or investing (both in and out of state), we are ready and able to provide the same All-Star Service you’ve come to expect.  Simply let one of our team members know so they can connect you with Steve, or reach out to Steve directly.  Our mission in residential, and now in commercial real estate, is the same as always: to serve you again....and again!

Excited about the future,  Adam & Team

Five Forces to Develop a Successful Selling Strategy

by Adam Watkins

      2016 has made its presence known, and this first quarter is promising to be quite active in the Greater Hattiesburg market.  Every Monday morning our entire team gathers for our “team huddle” to discuss market trends, learn about changes in the lending environment, share needs for buyer clients, and review every property that our team is marketing or that is currently awaiting closing. This past Monday, I made note that out of all of the properties we had listed in the Hattiesburg City Limits only two were not marked “Pending.”  I don’t recall ever seeing that before!  Perhaps it’s happened, but it was quite glaring this past week.  Hattiesburg wasn’t the only area where activity has increased since Christmas.  Approximately two dozen properties in our other submarket areas had the “Pending” notation beside their addresses as well.  Clearly, there are buyers active in our market, and they’re looking for well-maintained, functional, move-in-ready, and competitively priced homes in a variety of price ranges in stable and attractive neighborhoods.

      It’s important to recognize those parameters (listed above) desired by buyers and avoid the misconception that “anything goes.”  However, it is good news for sellers who are willing to pay attention to what the market is saying and develop a strategy for successfully selling their property for the highest possible value.  That’s where our team really shines - helping sellers develop a strategy and aiding them throughout the process to position their home in such a way that the probability of success is greatly increased. By the time one of our homes hits the market, many hours have been spent in trying to “get it right.” With the aid of our team of agents, home stagers, and trusted independent service providers (janitorial, painters, flooring installers, landscapers, and carpet cleaners), we help our sellers prepare their homes to stand out against the competition.  Our Marketing Department then creates attractive photographs for presentation and integrates each property into a marketing plan that has been developed by experience and guided by current trends.  Our Buyer Specialists prepare to present our homes to potential buyers, and our Support Team begins following up and reporting any feedback that is received throughout the process so adjustments can be made if needed.  It’s a fully integrated strategy to provide unparalleled service and success for our clients.

      If you or someone you know is considering selling a home, I’d like to share the “5 Forces” that we consider in helping our sellers develop a successful strategy.  They are: Market Conditions, Location, Marketing, Condition, and Pricing.  

1) Market Conditions - This is the only force that a seller has no direct control over.  So, I mention it first.  These are the conditions locally, regionally, and nationally that create the environment where a sale takes place.  It could be over- or under-supply, prevailing interest rates, local employment rates, etc.  It is our job to have an understanding of how these forces are playing out in our local market and provide insight to our clients on how it improves or impacts a potential sale.  Market conditions can develop slowly or rapidly.  For instance, Hurricane Katrina or 9/11, would be examples of events that had a rapid impact on prevailing market conditions.

2) Location - This is the first of the factors that a seller has control over. And before you say, "But, Adam, I can't move my house!"  I'll remind you that prior to purchasing your home or property, you did have a choice.  You could have chosen a different property in an alternate location.  It is true, however, that the choice has been made and can no longer be changed (at least not very easily, and you certainly can't move the legal description even if you uprooted the home that sits on it).  Thus, it becomes our role once more to help you understand the impacts of your location - both positive and negative - and help determine how potential buyers might respond.

3) Marketing - This is a factor that sellers control through the choice of brokerage and marketing team they select for their property.  I often tell my seller clients that this is what you are placing your trust in our team to do.  What will be done to ensure that the buyers in the market know about your property?  Our marketing plans answers this fundamental question.

4) Condition - Here's where you really start to stand out from the crowd.  The combination of condition and price are paramount in creating that "shiny penny" that I often speak of.  Does the home smell pleasant?  Are the finishes worn or fresh?  Does the landscaping and exterior appear well-maintained, or does it send the message that a lot time and resources will be needed to maintain it?  You can't change a floor plan very easily, and it would be even harder to dig the house up and move it to another location, so making the effort make your property more appealing can be what makes or breaks the home for a buyer.  Having a more attractive and move-in ready condition, a seller can reasonably expect to fall higher on the value spectrum for their particular property and/or anticipate less time on the market.  Our home staging team and our agents provide tools and recommendations to help sellers present their home in the best possible condition.

5) Pricing - The final, and perhaps the most crucial aspect of the strategy that sellers will choose, is the pricing of their home/property.  Our team approach provides sellers with a well-vetted pricing recommendation.  In addition to the experience of our Listing Agents and the research performed by our Listing Manager, our entire sales team reviews our newly-listed properties following any condition improvements and critiques the proposed offering price for a final recommendation.  Once the property launches on the Multiple Listing Service, it's important to monitor the reaction of the market.  If all other forces have been considered, and the market is not acting on the property, it will be important to revisit the pricing strategy and/or use feedback to address any issues with condition that are within the power of the seller.

Understanding the method and rationale for how we develop our selling strategy often helps sellers proceed with confidence as we market and sell their home or property. But sellers aren’t the only ones who benefit!  Home Buyers in the market can have greater confidence when they select an All-Star Team listing and our Buyer Specialists have greater understanding and knowledge to evaluate any property being offered on the market on their behalf.  So, it’s a win-win for sellers and buyers!
It truly is a team approach!  

We would love to hear from you with any questions, comments, or referrals!!!  Feel free to email them to me at adam@deloissmith.com or info@deloissmith.com!                             


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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.