Real Estate Information Archive


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About Andrew - October 2012

by Andrew Bird

I first moved to Mississippi from New Orleans when I was fifteen. My mother had enough of living in the city, and knew that land and houses were cheaper across the state line. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled at the prospect of moving in the middle of High School. I was starting to break into a good social scene, I was becoming comfortable with moving around the city independently, and I was learning to become a real local. The last thing that I wanted to do was to move out to the country!
Though Picayune, MS, is less than an hour from New Orleans, it felt like another world. I recall meeting our first landlord, an older gentleman native to Picayune, and not being able to understand a word he said since his accent was so thick. I felt like such an outsider. My accent, my upbringing (my parents are not from the region), my interests, were all foreign and I rejected the local customs. I told myself that I only had three years of high school to get through, and then I could leave Mississippi for good, and go far away forever.
Well, after high school, I didn’t get very far – about an hour north on the interstate to Hattiesburg. My thought was to make a pit stop there to get my degree, and then leave the state with a bang! I’ll admit that I didn’t think much of Hattiesburg when I first arrived. All I knew was William Carey University, where I lived on campus and took classes, and Hardy Street going to Hwy 98, which to me looked like one long strip mall, with nothing interesting or charming about it. I knew that it was going to be a long four years.
It wasn’t until the following summer, when I got a job waiting tables downtown at the Oaks Café, that I discovered that there was far more to Hattiesburg than I first realized. There were several little antique shops, several great music venues, a book store, and more, all locally owned and developed. All of a sudden, Hattiesburg became far more livable to me. That being said, I was still unable to feel at home in Mississippi.
After I graduated from college, I finally had my chance to get out, and I took it! The long awaited flight was finally at hand. I was giddy with excitement, relishing the opportunity to explore new lands, new people, to find my place! I spent the next year and a half traveling and living over seas, working in café’s and hotels. And as excited as I was to be out traveling, I invariably became homesick. But homesick for where? I had spent my time in Mississippi not accepting it as my home, but by that time I had spent a great number of my formative years in South Mississippi. I became homesick for Hattiesburg, and Mississippi as a whole.
What I came to realize was that I was even more of a stranger in another place. I had lived in MS for so long and even longer in the South. I realized that though I don’t quite fit the stereotype I am for all intensive purposes a Southerner. Despite what I thought, I had to realize that culturally speaking I have been greatly influenced by the South and its many charms. I realized that I was missing more than just my friends and family, Leatha’s BBQ, the Thirsty Hippo, Hoyt Tanner’s Hot Dog stand, pecan pie, and the rest of Southern Living’s recipe book. I was missing Mississippi. I was missing home.
A friend of mine, a local transplant from Austria, told me once that one can live anywhere so long as they have these three things: A good friend, a good café, and a good drug dealer. My friend was paraphrasing from Sigmund Feud, so that may explain the last part. This quote has stuck with me for a long time. Obviously, I take the final part in that quote to be open for interpretation. I suppose that it can be anything that provides recreation, whether that is golf, hunting, music, or anything else. When I returned to Mississippi last December, I was overjoyed. I had finally come home after 10 years of being a stranger.

Scott's Scoop - October 2012

by Scott Holmes

Transforming a home into a Green Home can add value to a property, making it more desirable for environmentally-conscious buyers and reducing overall energy bills. Currently our market may be focused on home pricing vs. added benefits, so many of these improvements should be weighed for your specific objectives for short and long term cost returns. But going forward, more folks are and will continue making wiser choices to reduce monthly energy costs. By making a few updates and quick fixes, such as adding energy saving light bulbs, appliances, and high-efficiency water heaters, sellers can add both enticing new features and legitimate value to a home. Here’s a few places to get started.
Add a Green Home Energy Tracker – Keep track of energy output of individual appliances and electronics for between $20 and $50 or have a home-monitoring device installed for around $250, which will track overall electrical usage and provide real-time feedback on energy consumption and waste. A large variety of in-home energy trackers and monitors are currently available on the market, and new technology is syncing them with devices like smartphones and tablets.
Update the Lighting with LED and CFL Bulbs – A single ENERGY STAR light bulb can save as much as $6 per year in electricity cost, and a CFL light bulb can save $50 over a traditional incandescent bulb in its lifetime. In addition, the maintenance of changing light bulbs will be greatly reduced, and the overall consumed energy can be reduced by as much as 75 percent.
Update the Exterior with a Rain Barrel – To reduce water usage for watering lawns and irrigating plants and gardens, rain barrels are an affordable green solution that can be purchased for under $100. Not only is this an affordable way to help the planet, it can reduce overall water bills.
Big Green Updates to Homes
Go with Low-Flow Bathrooms - Low-flow toilets and showerheads can reduce water consumption by as much as 50 percent, and modern versions see almost no reductions in water pressure. The upfront cost of buying and installing new bathroom fixtures is well worth the value these efficient toilets and showers can add to a home.
Install Tankless Water Heaters – Because they don’t store water and reheat it consistently, tankless heaters can save up to 50 percent on a hot water bill. Even better, with a tankless water heater homeowners will never be without hot water, since the coils of a tankless heater warm the water as it passes through the system. This means no more coordinating laundry and dishwashing, or timing out showers for the family.
Update the Kitchen and Utilize ENERGY STAR Appliances – The upfront cost for ENERGY STAR appliances will soon be mitigated by energy savings, since these appliances use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy.
The above benefits were taken from the National Association of Realtors website. Please speak with a Realtor at our office to discuss how any of these could improvements could help you!

Adam's Thoughts - October 2012

by Adam Watkins

Sometimes I get a little jealous of my team members who make entries into this “journal” that we call Star Chat each month. Each of them have contributed some unique and compelling insights into their lives. After all, this is a business about relationships, and I look forward each month to reading what my team member shares with us and improving my relationship with them. DeLois and I usually spend our entries commenting on present market conditions, growth in our team, changes in our business, events we’re planning, or community events. When I was considering my entry for this month’s Star Chat, though, I had no doubt it would take on a different complexion that I hope you’ll be able to appreciate since it concerns the birth of our second daughter, Hannah Lois, on September 11th.

I frequently make the joke around the office that I’m waiting for us (our team and my family) to make our reality show debut on one of the prominent (or obscure) cable networks. In fact, I believe Wendy Gay, one of our talented Buyer Specialists, alluded to this ongoing joke in one of her recent Star Chat writings. Our team works very hard, but sometimes you just have to step back and chuckle a little (or a lot) at the events of our days. Maybe you can relate. It’s easy to take yourself too seriously in this business, so it’s healthy to laugh and keep things in balance. And, honestly, in our case, truth can be much more entertaining than fiction. I start imagining how funny all of this house selling and family life would be if someone were just watching it, and I catch myself feeling a little like Jim Halpert from NBC’s The Office, searching for the cameras.

Monday, September 10th at 11:26 p.m. was one of those moments that would have certainly made for great TV! Amelia and I learned in January that we were expecting our second child. We were excited and overwhelmed! Overwhelmed because the Watkinses really know how to create a lot of work and excitement. (Amelia would likely blame most of this on me, but she’s a mighty fine accomplice.) In addition to a new pregnancy, a 3-year-old, and more than full-time careers, we also decided it was a good time for me to begin an Executive MBA program at Tulane University as well as making our fifth house move in as many years by late Summer. (We’re done with house moving for a while, and this time I mean it!) Without the pregnancy, there was plenty of material for the cameras to catch. Fast forward to the evening of September 10th, and you’d find us successfully moved, half of an MBA under our belts, a 3 1/2-year-old sound asleep in her room, and me coming in late that evening from showing homes to some friends of ours. Amelia had been experiencing early signs of labor all day, but nothing consistent. In spite of this, I decided I could still squeeze in showing some houses that evening before dark, and before you scold me, Amelia also encouraged me to proceed as planned and keep the phone handy.

When I got home, things appeared pretty much the same: sporadic and widely spaced contractions and a great deal of discomfort. We decided to settle in bed for the night and see what happened. Then at 11:26 labor accelerated from 0 to 100 mph! And accelerated is no understatement. Let’s just say that my quiet and reserved Amelia was anything but quiet, and for good reason! I quickly called our Aunt June and my Mom to ask one of them to come to our house since we were becoming very aware that we did not have the time to pack up Abigail and take her to one of their homes. We quickly loaded into the car and waited. They arrived between 11:40 and 11:45 p.m. as Amelia and I raced to the hospital. Hazard lights on. Speeding. Calling Labor and Delivery to tell them we were on our way. The contractions grew so closely together you could not easily determine when one started and another stopped, and Amelia began saying aloud that she didn’t know if we would make it. I kept assuring her that we would make it to the hospital; we would get there! The thought of delivering the baby myself was a terrifying thought. We literally “wheeled” into the labor and delivery entrance at Forrest General right around midnight.

Things were moving so quickly, and there seemed to be no time to spare. I flung my car door open and helped Amelia out of the car. I didn’t even think to turn off the car, close the door, or lock it. There it sat, ready for someone to drive it away if they wished, and I couldn’t have cared less. Amelia wouldn’t even pause for a wheelchair - we stumbled down the hallway and finally reached Labor and Delivery. Bless the poor soul who began feeding paperwork and disclosures to a redhead in the advanced stages of labor. There were no nurses or doctors in sight. Just the sweet lady in charge of registration who was quickly becoming overwhelmed by all of this drama. Amelia struggled to sign the disclosures, and the lady behind the counter began frantically calling for the nurses and doctor as well as assigning Amelia to a room. In the very brief break between contractions, Amelia “encouraged” me to go park the car! I managed to do that and get back to find Amelia in a room just as they were hooking up the heart monitor for Hannah.

The time was 12:06 a.m. Initially, it seems the nurses didn’t completely understand how very close the delivery was, but quickly learned that we had only a few more minutes and rushed to assemble all the necessary “hardware” for the delivery. Dr. Glaze arrived shortly around 12:15 a.m., and at 12:19 a.m., a healthy Hannah Lois Watkins was born - all 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and 21 inches of her. If you calculate the time of all these events, you’ll quickly discover that delivery was 54 minutes from when advanced labor began; about 35 minutes from when we left our home; and only 13 minutes from when Amelia was placed in a room! We very literally almost did not make it! Had this occurred in the middle of the day, traffic would have surely prevented us from doing so. We are so thankful to God for this blessing and for once again taking care of our needs up to the very minute. We give Him the glory for that! I always brag on how efficient Amelia is at everything she does, but if there is a next time, I’m hoping we’re slightly less efficient. Thirteen minutes is a bit quicker than this daddy was expecting.

As the adrenaline began to wear off, I couldn’t help but remember all of the 80’s sitcoms I watched as a child where the father dramatically, frantically, and clumsily raced to get his very “vocal” wife to the hospital in just the nick of time for delivery. Not knowing very much about that entire process as a little boy, I asked my mom if that’s how it really happened. She would always assure me, “No, no. That’s not real. They’re being dramatic for television.” As it turns out, she’s wasn’t entirely wrong. The nurses at FGH quickly told us that rushed delivery events such as ours were very rare. For the Watkinses, though, it was very real. And, given the 54 minutes total that it took, it’s custom designed for a single one-hour episode of this reality show of life that we live everyday, a blessed and full life for which we thank God. Hope you enjoy these photos of Hannah and her super “Big Sister,” Abigail. Thank you for your words of support, encouragement, and good will! Thank you for allowing our family to serve yours again and again! Our best, always. Adam & Team

Tech$mart homes are now available from AAA Homes

by DeLois Smith
In recent years innovation in construction technology has led to smart home solutions that save both energy, time and money. AAA Homes of MS is now building new homes in the Pine Belt that include their new Tech$mart application. The DeLois Smith All Star Team, REALTORS, has recently Listed for Sale and toured several new homes with Tech$mart application. AAA Homes has taken the smartest construction solutions and implemented them into their new home constructions. These solutions have been tested over the years and meet the high quality and functionality that is expected from AAA Homes. With the new Tech$mart application AAA Homes is able to provide homeowners with a home that is 40-45% more energy efficient than other new standard code constructions. FOAM INSULATION: The most important part of an energy efficient home is the insulation. Fiberglass has been an industry standard for many years. Tech$mart homes, however, use Open Cell Spray Foam Insulation. The spray foam insulation seals all of the gaps, cracks and crevices in the homes exterior walls and attic, creating an air barrier that keeps exterior moisture, unconditioned air and allergens, and outside pollutants outside. Tech$mart homes also utilize a Polyurethane Construction Adhesive Sealant that provides 90% reduction of air infiltration. ROOF DECKING: Radiant energy from the sun accounts for up to 93% of the heat that enters a home. Tech$mart homes feature Tech Shield Roof Decking. This innovative product helps block 97% of radiant heat from entering the attic, keeping the attic cooler, lowering energy costs and making the home more comfortable. Tech Shield Roof decking lowers attic temperatures up to 30 Degrees. The result is up to 17% lower heating/cooling costs. WINDOWS: Tech$mart homes also keep heat from flowing into the house by using Thermal Vinyl Windows. These windows provide 31 Greater U Value and are 35% more resistant to the flow of heat than aluminum windows. HVAC: All Tech$mart homes include an Energy Star 13 SEER HVAC system. The HVAC systems are 30% more energy efficient than systems built before January 2006. DIGITAL THERMOSTAT: Coupled with a Digital Programmable HVAC Thermostat, the cost of operating your HVAC system is reduced by 55%. APPLIANCES: Energy Star Appliances enhance performance and often outperform standard appliances due to improved design and advanced technologies. Each Tech$mart home includes certified Energy Star Appliances to help lower the overall cost of utility bills. DIGITAL TIMER: A unique addition to the Tech$mart homes is a Digital Programmable Water Heater Timer. These timers create up to a 75% reduction in water heater operation by allowing you to control when the water heater actually reheats the water in the tank. CABLES: As technology progresses, Tech$mart homes are ready for any future upgrades. Industry standard Cat V cable is run through the entire home. This allows for easy networking of technology products and is expandable to meet any future needs. The homes that currently offer the Tech$mart package include 16 & 20 Chapel Hill Blvd. in the Chapel Hill Subdivision in Oak Grove and 86 Sunline Drive in the Pecan Lakes Subdivision in Petal. All of these homes are listed with The DeLois Smith All Star Team, REALTORS. To setup your own personal tour of the Tech$mart homes, please call The DeLois Smith All Star Team, REALTORS, at 601-545-3900. You can also view these homes on their website,

If you suspect you have significant foundation problems such as doors sticking and cracks in your interior and exterior walls; I recommend that you hire a structural engineer to survey your foundation before you contract with a foundation company to make repairs. 1. As an independent and unbiased expert, a signed report from a structural engineer will ensure that you get an honest appraisal of the current condition of your foundation, as well as, a specific plan of action should work be needed. This could save you thousands of dollars! 2. Foundation companies are paid on the basis of the number of piers they install. The more piers they install, the more money they make. If your home needs foundation work, the report you receive from an independent structural engineer will outline exactly the number of piers your home needs. Also, the report will indicate exactly where the piers need to be placed! 3. Depending upon your conditions, certain types of piers perform better than others. Most foundation companies specialize in the installation of a particular type of pier. That pier system may not be right for the needs of your foundation repair. An engineer can determine the type of pier that will work best for your circumstances. Need help? Call me! I will be happy to give you my layman’s opinion. I am not an engineer; however, I work with some of the best engineers and foundation companies and will be glad to make a recommendation.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




Contact Information

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

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.