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Testimonial, Seller 2018

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Now is the time to buy! (and sell!)...

by Freddie Mac

Calling All Sellers..........

by Adam Watkins

     After two snowfalls and a substantially colder-than-normal winter in the Pine Belt, it was nice to spend most of February with milder temperatures - reaching into the 80's for several days!  From the looks of things, Spring Fever has sprung across our community along with the budding Bradford Pear trees that line my driveway.  The anticipation of new life and a new season of outdoor activities - from baseball, to spring break trips, to the beach, Easter, and the opening of swimming pools just around the corner - is something we get to celebrate a little sooner in South Mississippi than those who live several hours north of us.  What do you have planned for Spring Break? Amelia and I will mark 15 years of marriage in early May and will be celebrating over Spring Break by taking a cruise (it's easier for our parents to help with our girls when they are out of school), and we are so excited about this journey!  We've discovered how much we enjoy cruising, and we're especially excited about our adventure/celebration which will take us to the Panama Canal for the first time in our lives!  We'll be sure to take some photos and share those!  It's been on my bucket list to visit since I was a little boy.  Amelia's probably not as big of a geek as me about the Panama Canal, but she's looking forward to it as well.

     Things have been busy-busy at The All-Star Team, REALTORS.  In January I shared a bit about the "12-Week Year" concept for goal setting that we were adopting to begin 2018.  The entire team has been working on their goals - me included!  It's been helpful to have areas of specific focus for our business.  For me, that has included a more deliberate effort to connect with our clients and friends - taking the time to remind each of you how important you are to our business, and how thankful we are to serve you and your families.  Creating and fostering authentic connections with each of you is something that is rewarding and beneficial to all of us.  The lines of communication are open, so don't hesitate to reach out with anything you need - or just to grab lunch or dinner somewhere and catch up on how you're doing.  We take pleasure in being your go-to resource for information and knowledge about our area.  I was reminded of this again late last week when one of our newest friends (i.e. clients) and Greater Hattiesburg residents e-mailed me asking for various recommendations or suggestions for a variety of service providers as he and his family set up their new home in the area.  Helping in this way is something we enjoy doing.  

     The market has certainly been active since the beginning of the year!!!  As of this writing over half of our listed inventory has pending contracts on it and are headed to closing!  This may sound like a great problem to have as a real estate brokerage, but it has brought our attention to one crucial aspect of our business - and that's the constant need for NEW LISTINGS!!!  We are in need of new inventory in all of our market areas including Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, and Sumrall, but the Petal market is where the need is most statistically apparent.  Currently the total active listings (homes available for sale) in the Petal sub-market is approximately 24% less than it was this same time last year; and new listings on the market to replace sold inventory is down by nearly the same percentage.  We are presently working on bringing several dozen pieces of property to the market in the coming weeks throughout our market, but these additions will still not replace what we have currently under contract.  What does this mean for you?  Perhaps it's an opportunity to make a move yourself - especially if you have a property that migrates toward the median needs of our markets.  And certainly, if you hear of anyone who needs to sell their property, we are ready to serve.  We have been able to beat the market averages for Days on Market as well as average yield per sale by bringing well-prepared and attractively-presented properties to the market.  We employ our team approach to partner with our sellers, using our market insights to inform just the right strategy to prepare a property for market and improve the overall chances of success.

     On the buying side, interest rates continue to tick up little by little, even though they remain historically low.  On the day of this writing, rates for a qualified borrower with a good credit score were hovering in the low 4% range according to Sherry Stuart of Trustmark Mortgage.  A Conventional 30-year mortgage (minimum 5% downpayment) was 4.375%; FHA/VA 30-Year mortgage (3.5% to 0% downpayment) was 4.125%; and a USDA 30-Year Mortgage (0% downpayment) was also 4.125% - all of these rates include 0.125% origination fee.  With tax refunds coming in to help cover a downpayment (if required) as well as closing costs, it may be the right time to enter the market as a purchaser and lock in a rate now, as they are expected to continue to rise over the course of 2018. In spite of reduced inventory, there remain numerous opportunities in our market for buyers - especially if they're willing to be a bit flexible.  Overall, the Greater Hattiesburg Market has traditionally yielded significant value for the dollar when purchasing housing, and we still find that to be the case day-in and day-out!

Whether it's selling, buying, investing - or connecting within our community - we thank you for allowing us to be your first resource and your REALTORS for life!!!

Adam & Team

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!‚Äč

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. 

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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.