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Real Estate Lessons with Adam

by Adam Watkins

Who’s ready for Summer?  The heat may sometimes be daunting, but Summer remains my favorite season of the year.  Perhaps it’s because I still revel in the memories of my adolescence when Summer signified fewer commitments and a less rigid schedule.  School was okay, but what kept me going from September to May was knowing that June, July, and August were going to come again at some point.  Of course, August no longer provides the same benefits as it did years ago…at least not in Mississippi where our schools begin each year in early August now.  Nevertheless, those memories of long, unstructured, and carefree days are resurrected each May as temperatures rise and our many friends in elementary and secondary education count down the days to “freedom.”  And, even though Summer may seem like a time to focus on other ventures like swimming, vacationing, or family reunions, there’s still time for a little learning.  Even if it’s not within the structure of a school environment.

This business teaches us something new everyday.  Some lessons we’re proud and eager to learn, and others we’ve learned the hard way and have the battle scars to prove it.  The same can be said for our clients and friends as well.  Every real estate market poses unique challenges and opportunities.  One unique attribute of our present market is the increased interest in leasing properties both large and small.  We receive dozens of calls or e-mails a day concerning questions about leasing properties, and what we’ve discovered in those interactions is how little the public knows about lease purchases and how pervasive rental scams are on websites such as Craigslist.  When I asked our team of a relevant, educational topic for me to share about this month in Star Chat, these two issues came up.  So, even though Summer is upon us and school is at its close, put your thinking caps on and hopefully the information that follows will save you or someone you know some heartache.

We’ll begin with lease purchases.  A lease purchase is when a purchaser contracts with a seller to BUY a home at some future date (usually 6, 12, or 18 months, etc. in the future). The purchaser’s need for a delayed closing could be for the purchaser to get affairs in order so they can close by the agreed time, address a credit issue, sell a property in another state, or any variety of reasons.  In our practice, the purchaser does meet with a mortgage broker to determine a plan of action for achieving financing by the agreed purchase time.  In the interim period prior to closing, the purchaser desires possession of the property and leases it from the owner until closing arrives, making monthly lease payments to the seller from the time of possession until closing.  Sometimes a small portion of these lease payments (5% to 10%) may accrue in escrow toward the purchase price of the home, but often no accumulation occurs if the lease amount is not large enough to justify it.  Additionally, the purchaser places a large sum of money on deposit toward the purchase that is non-refundable if the closing does not occur as agreed.  Depending on the overall sales price of the house, we usually see deposits between $5,000 and $20,000.  Again these terms are negotiated up front.  In most cases the purchaser/tenant has the property inspected prior to possession and accepts the condition of the property at the time of possession.

Some things that a lease purchase IS NOT:  It is NOT an opportunity to “try out a house to see if you like it.”  It is NOT an “option to close in the future.”  It is a contractual obligation to close by the agreed time.  It is NOT the same as “owner financing,” as the owner often has a mortgage of their own to payoff and can’t transfer title until that lien is paid off.

Now, about Craigslist scams.  Many of you are familiar with Craigslist – it is like a gigantic, world-wide, classified ad system where individuals can offer items for sell or rent, including goods and services.  People sell or offer to lease any number of things from pianos to palaces and everything in between.  A couple years ago, we would occasionally receive calls from people who were inquiring about a “home we had for lease.”  The problem was, we didn’t have the home they were calling about for lease; it was for sale instead, and what was most intriguing is that the rental price quoted was always grossly below what fair market rent would be.  For instance, a $350,000 home would be offered for $800 per month.  A scam artist somewhere would go online and copy photos of random homes listed by agents all over the country, post that information on Craigslist, remove the agency information, and insert their own.  When an interested party contacted them, they would give a story of being out of town and needing to lease the home quickly because of the challenging real estate market and economy.  They would follow with instructions to simply mail the deposit and they would promise to put the keys in the mail to them as well.  Of course, there were no keys to send to the potential tenant, and you can guess what happened to the deposits that were mailed.  The only reason folks wound up contacting us was because they just happened to use a search engine to search the address where they also found the property on our websites for sale and would call us by mistake.  We shudder to imagine the people who did not call us and discover the truth before sending off deposits to the scam artists.

As Craigslist scams have become much more prevalent, please be careful if you or someone you know is searching for a home to lease.  Here are some things to look for:  1) The rent amount per month seems like a significant bargain.  2) The contact person will not be able to meet you at the property.  3) The scammer will be in a hurry and will suggest all he/she needs is the first month’s deposit mailed to them and they’ll go ahead and mail you the keys.  4) They may create a cover story as to why there is a real estate agency sign on the property.   When in doubt, google the address of the rental and see if the details add up.

There is not enough space in these pages to provide all the details I’d like about these issues, but just remember these things.  In the case of lease purchases – it’s actually a contract to purchase the home.  For Craigslist lease properties, simply remember the adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  To our sellers, know that we diligently watch these events and take appropriate action to have the false ad removed as soon as we discover it.  And, if you have any doubts, our team is just a phone call or click away.

 

Best,

Adam & Team

Who Says Real Estate Isn’t Fun….

by Wendy Gay

Here at The DeLois Smith All Star Team, REALTORS we have so much fun it should be illegal.  In fact, sometimes we think we should have a Reality Show.  Why not, they make them about everything else.  It could be called, “The Go All Star Team Show”.

A typical week starts out with our Monday morning team sales meetings where we discuss the events of the previous week’s activity and status of properties.  We talk about our company goals in comparison to previous years’ production, and our strengths and weaknesses, and assessing where we can make improvements.

We talk about our clients’ housing needs as well as lift people up in prayer who are experiencing challenges.  As you all know, tragedy strikes, life is hard, buyers can be unpredictable and sometimes they lack commitment.  Sometimes sellers are grief stricken and having to sell their homes. We need to LAUGH, because we carry the burdens of others into our lives.

Sometimes laughter is the very thing that gets us through.  In Proverbs it says, “A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”.  And making a difference in someone’s life lifts us up, especially in times like these.  Forgive us when we find those small things to carry on and laugh about.  Such as:

DeLois saying, “Oh My”, “Someone hit that house with an Ugly Stick”.  I say that jokingly because DeLois is the Matriarch of our team family, holding a high standard for professionalism and hard work, no matter how long it takes.  So, it was hilarious to hear that she said such a thing.

OR

Linda’s story from Sunday’s Tour of Homes, where a 6 year old little girl was joined by three other younger girls with wide eyes, exclaiming to Linda that she better not go into that house. “A bad man had taken a lady down in the basement and held her there.”  The house didn’t even have a basement.  It was simply children’s make-believe.

OR

Brenda stopping to share her Southern Hospitality with everyone she knows – Brenda knows someone everywhere we go.   She will make a call to someone for the first time and say, “HEY this is Brenda,” like she has known them all her life.  How does she do it?  She makes people fall in love with her every day.  It doesn’t matter if they are young or old, rich or poor, male or female.  Everybody loves Brenda!

OR

Sharon, now she’s one ally you want on your side.  Sharon is always…always rooting for the underdog.  She looks to protect and mother everyone and everything.  If you are hurt, let Sharon put a band-aid on it.  She’ll fix you right up.

OR

Scott,  our analyzer.  He figures everything out.  He wants to study it, be well informed about it, heck… become the expert about it.  He will find the best way to work it out where everybody will come out a “winner at the end”.  What a fantastic advocate to have working for you.  He makes sense of everything.

FINALLY

Adam, who is our optimistic leader, sets the pace for us all.  He is always growing with technology, pursuing knowledge, and maintains a keen sense of humility by acknowledging God in everything he does.  He is always light hearted and confident and will find something to laugh about even if he has to make a joke about himself.

On Tuesdays, the real fun begins.  This is our tour day where we get our first preview of new properties.  You should see us.  There are sometimes as many as 7 cars chasing around behind one another anywhere from Perry County to Columbia and from Collins to Lumberton.  We dedicate that day to our sellers.  What a resource to bring over 150 years of combined experience to collaborate about pricing, condition,

showmanship.  We start matching that property to our pool of buyers while we’re there.  We move furniture, pull weeds, open blinds, and discuss the best sales strategy for each individual property. It’s here, on tour, that many of our BEST listings; in a good location, in good condition, and priced right from the start, sell.  It’s not only a race to the next house on the tour list, but also a race to see who can sell that house first.

We always – always – cap off tour with a team luncheon at one of our favorite restaurants.  I love it when we end up in an outlying area and we get to experience the charms of an old mom and pop restaurant like The Round Table in Columbia.  We leave with a full belly and the mission that, “Nothing Happens until Somebody Sells Something”.

Wednesday through Friday is all about “stirring the pot”, as Adam calls it.  We work hard to make that something happen.  We spend Monday and Tuesday getting our resources and then Wednesday through Saturday sharing those resources with our Buyer Clients.  Sundays are set aside for the Lord and sometimes Tour of Homes.  REST…. I didn’t say Rest.  There is no such thing; ask DeLois? (Ha!)  Seriously, real estate affects everything.  It touches each of our lives and it makes money move within our economy.  I’m not a big economist, but even I know that.

So, let us bring our smiles and laughter into your lives, and let’s get that money moving.  May we all – our Sellers, Buyers, and our Team – expect great things to happen.

 

Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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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.