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     So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective. Here is some additional information for your consideration:    

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford
   "While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.” This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process. Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. 

2. Act Fast
    "Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.
Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer
    “Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood." A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate
    “It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared." The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford. Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.

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!!!

5 Tips to Keep Your Pipes From Exploding This Winter

by Houselogic

New homeowners may have heard that winterization is important, but in the hubbub of your first year living in a home you own (finally!), it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead. After all, it’s just not something renters deal with; prepping pipes for winter is often the landlord’s job.

Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.

Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting:

#1 Turn On Your Faucets

If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

#2 Open Cabinet Doors

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

#3 Wrap Your Pipes

If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer

A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)

Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.

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

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