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Keeping things local

by Adam Watkins

Here we are in our second month of 2014!!! So far, 2014 promises to be much different than last year. Things feel different. Not worse or better, just different. For starters, how about this weather??? As I write these words, freezing rain is piling up outside the office, and there are winter storm warnings in the Mississippi Gulf Coast of all places!!!


The weather isn’t the only thing that feels different, the market feels different as well. Again, not worse or better necessarily, but different. And, those differences can sometimes show up in some market segments more than others. I’ll try to explain. The other day I bumped into a friend who also happens to be a past client and was asked the first question that I’m often asked: “How’s the real estate market?” He’s considering listing his home; it’s an obvious question, and one that I’m asked often. It should be easy to answer, and I should roll off my thoughts on the market in a matter of seconds (which I did, to a certain degree, and perhaps to the dismay of the listener). The interaction reminded me of some things about answering such a question, though. The answer could be a simple one or two-word summary, I suppose. Some professionals might use descriptives such as “great, steady, challenging, slow, or fast.” These are the simple summaries that are often batted about as people “talk real estate.” Most sales people are trained to be quick to assert that things are “fantastic.” Personally, I always had a problem with a standard answer like that, because I found it to be disingenuous, and sometimes dishonest at a certain level, at least without some clarification.

Of course, it’s really not as simple as just “fantastic” or “challenging” (even if folks who ask are only looking for a quick summary or conversation starter). Why? Because real estate is inherently local in nature. What do I mean by that? I wish I had a better example to illustrate my point than the one that follows, but it’s the best example I know of to describe what I mean of real estate being “local,” so please forgive me for using an example that may seem upsetting. Several years back, I began to notice something in one of our area’s more prominent neighborhoods. There was one particular street within the neighborhood that was not performing as well as the balance of the neighborhood. In fact, while other homes in the neighborhood would sell relatively quickly, multiple homes on this single street remained up for sale for lengthy periods of time, and the ones that sold did so for less than the average sales of the homes within the same neighborhood - even homes only a couple streets over. There wasn’t anything conditionally superior to the homes throughout the neighborhood - in fact, several of these homes were lakefront! I wondered why this could be, and did some searching and asking and found the answer. I was dismayed by my discovery that a registered sex offender had moved into a home on that street. Subtly, people had become aware of this fact, and it started to have an effect on the sales of the properties on this single street.

You see, local can be as specific as a single street within a neighborhood. The point is that no matter what is happening in the nation, the state, the metro area, the city, or the suburb, there are still environmental and economic factors that come into play for a single neighborhood and even a single street within that neighborhood!!! The result is a lot of conflicting information out there. For example, you may read that sales in the country have increased 20%, but in your own neighborhood, you notice that homes are taking longer to sell (or perhaps they’re flying off the shelves).

You find evidence of this conflict in certain price ranges too, where at certain times a particular price range (or market segment) is more aggressive than others even though the market conditions appear to be the same. For instance, last year there was roughly a 50% increase in sales of homes in the $140,000 to $160,000 price range over the previous year. I suspect this was a result of first time home buyers entering the market once more with aggressive interest rates and renewed fervor in the market.

So what does that mean for 2014? Overall, the final quarter of 2013 dealt the market a lot of distractions including a rise in rates (only into the 4% range, incidentally); the government shutdown that affected VA, FHA, and USDA loans; grappling with the ramifications of Obamacare on the finances of families; and the expected focus on the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. As a result, the difference between the beginning of 2013 versus 2014 was there seemed to be less wind in our sails as January 1st rolled around. And then, like magic, on January 3rd, we started feeling upswings in buyer activity in several price ranges in our market place, which is an encouraging sign that these “distractions” may have run their course for now. Spring inventory is coming on, and the best property selections will be available for purchasing. Rates are in the low 4% range for most purchasers.

When it comes to serving our friends and clients, we hope that one of the things for which you can count on us is truly in-depth knowledge of the market and how that relates to making the best decisions possible regarding your home and property. Things like knowledge of the nuances of local markets that I’ve written about in these paragraphs along with countless other things. In the end, it’s what we hope sets us apart from anyone in our market as we serve you and those you care about.

To the best year ever!

Adam & Team

New adventures with life long friends

by Linda Seifert

January brought not only a new year but a new trip for the All Star Team! We were blessed to reach our team goal in 2013 and were rewarded with a week long Western Caribbean cruise. Our stops were Falmouth, Jamaica, George Town, Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. Many of us were able to go and share our trip with family and friends while a few of us stayed behind to ‘mind the store’ and brave the cold weather.

My traveling companion this year was my oldest friend, Judy Stechmann who lives in Mobile, Alabama. Judy and I went to high school together and bonded with our mutual credo of ‘laughter being the best medicine’.

Over the years we’ve shared our lives, watched our children grow and seen them have families of their own. In our ‘mature’ years we find ourselves not only reminiscing about our youthful adventures but, when possible, adding a few new adventures to the history book! It was Judy’s first cruise, my third and we had a blast! My co- workers and fellow cruisers all threw themselves into soaking up as much fun and sun as possible and whenever we could we shared a meal and some relaxing times together.

Many years ago my husband labeled me ‘a professional shopper’ and this cruise offered ample opportunity to shop ‘til you drop! I’ve never seen so much jewelry in my life! In fact it was almost overkill to the tune of a self imposed ban on shopping until next Christmas! However, upon returning home, my resolve had vanished in a week! Oh...... the trying times of being a shopaholic! :-)

It’s now back to the business of helping home buyers and sellers make their dreams come true. This is a job I love and I look forward to helping many of you with your next real estate transaction!

Live and love well!

What is an All Star?

by Ben Williams

I’d like to start off by introducing myself, as this is my first time writing for Star Chat. My name is Ben Williams and I’m the photographer here at DSAST.

A few months ago when I was asked to write an article for Star Chat, I was excited. However, when I got to typing that article I spent some time staring at the blinking text cursor wondering what I could convey to the reader. I considered talking about photography and different techniques I use on a shoot but after thought, “Nah, too techy” . I looked over some previous issues hoping to find some sort of direction, and finally found myself zoomed in on the term “All Star”. Most of us associate that term with some sort of sport, and a quick Google search will yield the same results along with our website if you’re local.

all-star - adjective -composed wholly of outstanding performers or players.

Bam! I don’t think a better term could’ve been used to describe the colleagues I work with. A combined 200+ years of experience in Real Estate, accompanied by another 50+ years of combined experience from our support team. Wow.

Our agents, client care coordinator, listing coordinator, closing coordinator, marketing director, stager and I put quality and customer service at the forefront of our day to day operations around the office and in the field.
What is an All Star

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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.