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Great American All Star - Samantha Madden

by DeLois Smith

Samantha Madden is a recent high school graduate - pretty, vivacious, and full of hope and the promise of a bright future. If not for her overwhelmingly positive attitude, sparked by the love of family and friends, she could be anything but the lively young woman she is today. On a night filled with youthful exuberance, Samantha, along with her twin sister Jennifer and three other friends, was involved in a terrible automobile accident. Samantha’s life would forever change, as her injuries left her unable to walk. Enduring three surgeries, often suffering with excruciating pain, she has emerged as an example of strength and character that few young people know at her age. She is by no means blaming her situation on anyone, least of all her twin sister, who by the very nature of their relationship felt guilty about her sister’s injuries. Samantha admits that she has had moments of “feeling down,” but she thinks of her beloved PawPaw, whom she lost in 2010. He has been her inspiration to press on and recover to her full potential. She also credits her Nana, who has pushed her to be independent, as well as her Mom and other friends and family for their unending physical and moral support.
At first, Samantha was reticent to go back to school, but as time passed she was convicted that she should finish her senior year and graduate with the 2014 class. She accomplished this task by continuing studies at home and attending limited hours at school daily toward the end of the school year. Samantha plans to attend Jones County Junior College, live in the dormitory, and enjoy a normal college life. She wants to complete her basic education at JCJC and pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer by furthering her education in that field. Samantha’s love of her beloved pets (at present, two dogs: Pepper & Junior; three cats: Janx, Callie, and Panther) means that they tend to be her subjects. She believes photographing animals will be her focus as she moves into her professional life.
Among many interests, Samantha participates in 4-H, becoming a champion in the “Muzzle Loader” competition and recently winning in the Marion County and District events, making her eligible for the state competition in July of this year. She credits Richard Perry, who is the director of the Muzzle Loader team, in helping her with her wheelchair setup, in addition to his instruction and training in the sport.
Samantha is quick to point out that her relationship with God and her strong faith in Him will always carry her through adversity. She shared with us a beautiful ring that she wears around her neck that is inscribed with The Lord’s Prayer, which is a great source of comfort and encouragement to her.
This remarkable young woman is our Great American All Star for the second quarter, and all of us at The DeLois Smith All Star Team salute Samantha as she embarks on her college career and inevitably bright future! Congratulations, Samantha!

Successful Transitions

by Adam Watkins

ConGRADulations to all of our graduates...high school, college, grad school, and yes, pre-school! (We have a pre-school graduate in our home this year, as hard as that is to believe!) Summer fun is officially upon us as we “transition” from routine to the excitement that this time of year brings for many families. In thinking about this time of year, I’m struck by that word...”transition.” Most of our graduation exercises are referred to as “commencement” which means to begin or start. In that case, to begin something new. Simultaneous with that is the transition from one phase of life to another. Hence, summer is a huge transitioning time for many of us. From one school to another; one stage of life to another; one job to another; and one city to another, which of course results in transitioning from one home to another. I like that last one a lot since it’s what we get to do every day, as you would expect. So, for whatever transitions you encounter in this season of your life, even those hard transitions that aren’t a lot of fun, I pray that you are able to grasp onto the lessons and memories that can propel you forward.
In this issue of “Star Chat,” you’ll have the opportunity to read about our newest “Great American All-Star.” Linda Seifert made the suggestion in our 2014 planning meetings last November that we create a spotlight for individuals in our community who can and have inspired us. We loved the idea! So, be sure to read our second installment spotlighting Samantha Madden’s inspiring story of tragedy and triumph that began many years ago as God created in her a spirit of resilience and perseverance that was put to the test last August when an automobile accident left her paralyzed, resulted in multiple surgeries, and had her in the hospital and rehab for months. She graduated from Petal High School on May 22nd - on time, in spite of this set back. It’s the ultimate graduation story for this time of year, and one that inspires me on a daily basis since Samantha is also a member of my family. Her mother and my wife are first cousins. Our team followed her story and recovery as I shared with them in our prayer request time each Monday morning since the accident in August. As I was sharing with them her accomplishment as a “praise” in a recent prayer time, it became very clear who our newest GAAS should be, and it just goes to show that Great American All Stars come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, experiences, and ages!
We hope to see as many of you as possible at our annual July 4th event at Canebrake Clubhouse this July 4th! Our annual reunion with so many of you is something we look forward to each year. DeLois, Josh, Vickie, and the rest of the team are diligently planning this year’s event, and we do hope you’ll join us. For the first time in a decade, I will be absent from this year’s event, so let me take this opportunity to extend my thanks and greetings to you a month ahead of time. Our family will certainly miss seeing yours as we normally do, but the rest of the team will be there decked out in their best red, white, and blue! I mentioned earlier that we had a pre-school graduate in our home. Abigail begins Kindergarten at Petal Primary in August, and we are taking her and Hannah along with a passel of family members to the happiest place on earth: Walt Disney World. Abigail has never been, and she is so excited. I know you question what possessed us to go to that place at the hottest and busiest time of the year, but it was the only time that all of our family that wanted to go could be there together. We’re going to make the best of it, and we have a little princess who’s growing up so fast that there won’t be many more years left of the “princess magic.” So, off we go...and when we’re watching the fireworks on July 4th with The Mouse, we’ll certainly remember all of our friends in Hattiesburg!
In the midst of all this transition, your real estate team will not stop doing what we do: Bringing you home again...and again! We’re only a phone call, text, Facebook post, or click away!
To successful transitions...
Adam & Team

The Power of Representation

by Debra Pace

If you needed a doctor or a lawyer, wouldn’t you rather have someone who performs the duty on a daily and full-time basis or someone who has a patient or client every day? By choosing one of our team members to represent you, you can rest assured that you will not see one of us working at the mall or somewhere else in the afternoon. When we are not showing or listing property, we take classes to further our education, tour homes, and study the market to be on top of our game.
How does this benefit you? When helping a buyer, most of us check the hot sheet on the MLS throughout the day to know what is new to the market, pended, sold, or had a price reduction. That enables us to contact you immediately to notify you if it’s something you’ve been looking for. When I help a buyer, I treat them like family. I not only look at the current listing, I check the history to see how many times it’s been on the market, for how many days, and to see the price changes. If something has been on the market numerous times for lengthy days on the market, I am going to bring it to your attention because that is important to consider for resell purposes. No one buys a forever home these days, so the ability to resell is important. When a buyer calls to tell me what they need, I love being able to be ramble a list of other homes that may fit their needs if that home is no longer available. That comes from knowing the market and knowing what is available in various subdivisions. Personally, my strength is more in the Oak Grove market, but I know that my team mate Scott will be more fluent in the Petal market and will be able to help them if they desire that area. That is the beauty of not having to compete with your co-workers - each one of us has our individual strengths to assist everyone.
As a seller, it benefits you to have a full-time agent represent you because in most cases, your home will be your largest asset. You deserve to have someone who is committed to make sure your home makes the best first impression. Recently, I was the third agent to list a home after two unsuccessful attempts on the market. When I received the invitation to meet with them, as soon as I heard the address, I was able to tell her what I remembered about the home from showing it a year ago. I wasn’t trying to impress her, but there was something that stood out about the home that I remembered so vividly. After meeting with them and making a few suggestions to improve it, they worked hard all week and it transformed beautifully. The one thing they could not believe is that no one had ever told them they were paying too much in property taxes; it was not showing they had filed for homestead exemption status. Why didn’t the other two agents ever tell them this? Paying these extra property taxes for years was unnecessary and will need to be addressed when marketing the property so buyers know it’s not what they can expect to pay.
Good representation as a seller can also help you when it comes to contracts. Recently, one of the nicest guys around had asked me to visit with him about listing, but before we could finalize everything, another agent brought him a “one time listing agreement,” meaning he did not have representation. He didn’t realize that agreeing to “ALL” closing cost and prepaid items could be a costly mistake. The buyers’ agent and lender had decided to take advantage of that word and roll in a VA funding fee that is normally financed in. That caused the seller to be forced to pay over $9700.00, instead of what he thought was normal cost of around $4000.00. If he would have had me working for him, I would have had him cap that amount in the counter offer.
Mistakes happen to the best of us. My agent when moving here was the one and only Brenda Blackwell. I knew nothing about being a Realtor, or how the loyalty should work both ways. She was loyal to us by calling us in Texas, sending us listings, and carting us around when we looked at homes. In return, I purchased a home that was “for sale by owner,” and thought she would be so happy for us when I told her….goofy me! We didn’t realize until it came time to sell it that we had paid too much for the home after Katrina. Lesson learned, if I had let Brenda represent me, she could have shown us the comps to tell us that we were paying too much. I find it ironic that she would be my friend and co-worker today.
Please do not make these mistakes, call me or one of my team members for the best representation that anyone has to offer!

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




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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.