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Realtor.com app provides quality home search

by Josh Bellew

Realtor.com AppOver the past year that I have been with The All Star Team, I have been asked numerous times about the best way to search for homes using a mobile device. In today’s market, there are many different options for the home buyer looking for that perfect home, including mobile versions of agent’s websites and truly dedicated apps from national search companies. You can spend more time searching for a search tool than actually searching for a home. So after a year of trying out all of the options, I am ready to give my stamp of approval.


After experimenting with countless mobile websites and popular mobile apps on both Apple and Android devices, I have found myself always reverting back to the Realtor.com app. The Realtor.com app, in my opinion, was the easiest to navigate and worked consistently across all platforms. It also gives you the ability to communicate with your Buyer’s Agent in a convenient format. Here are several of the features that keep me going back to the Realtor.com app while searching for houses.


The most up to date home information. Realtor.com is linked directly with the Hattiesburg MLS, the listing service used by all Realtors in the Hattiesburg area. When we list a home, change a price, or update a status, Realtor.com receives this information in about 15 minutes and makes the appropriate changes. Other apps like Zillow and Trulia can take up to 2 or 3 days to update.


Location based home searches – This is one of my favorite features of the Realtor.com. It can detect the general area you are in and show you homes that are within a certain radius. This is incredibly useful if you like to search for homes by driving in the areas you like. Sometimes you may not know there is an excellent neighborhood tucked away in the woods off the major highways, but now you will be able to scout out the area without wasting time.


Full screen photo slide show. The Realtor.com app offers a great way to view the home photos. Once you are looking at the listing, just touch the photo of the home and a full screen slide show pops up that allows you to easily swipe through the photos.


Open House list – We all like an open house. It’s a great way to quickly view a house you’re interested in, especially when you are just starting your search. Realtor.com gives the agents in our area the ability to list our Open Houses. Curious if there are any Open Houses while you’re searching? Just go to the app’s home screen and click Open Houses. If any are scheduled, you will see a list of addresses and times. (Be sure to check it out before our Tour Of Homes each month.)


Collaborative Search – One of the most useful features of the Realtor.com app is the ability to connect with our Buyer Agents while you are searching for a home. The app allows you to sync your login with the agent you are working with. You can then easily let the agent know which houses you are interested in and request a showing of a specific house. Once connected, your agent will be able to recommend houses that you may be interested in, allowing you to easily view the home and let your agent know your thoughts. If you would like to connect with your agent on the Realtor.com app, just ask and they will email you an invitation to connect.
These are just a few of the many features that make this my “go-to” app when searching for homes. As always, if you ever have a question about searching for homes online, feel free to give me a call or, better yet, stop by the office and say hello.

Download the realtor.com app here.

Adam's Thoughts - March 2013

by Adam Watkins

We greet March with thankfulness! Given the “Mississippi Miracle” or “Hattiesburg Miracle” that our community experienced on February 10th, we can’t help but be thankful! As we consider the miles of damage created by the EF-4 tornado that traveled through Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, Petal, and surrounding areas, the more thankful we become. Personally, I’m awestruck at the simultaneous manifestation of God’s power and God’s protection. The fact that there were no casualties amidst utter devastation is quite a miracle indeed! Especially when you consider that the tornado glazed by Forrest General Hospital and over several churches (on a Sunday) as well as a university where students were largely out of town because of a holiday.


In fact, several of our team members were actually hosting nearly two dozen open houses that afternoon during our monthly Tour of Homes - all within the general path of the tornado. We had team members criss-crossing the area between tour locations as the tornado sliced through the community. There were a lot of phone calls and text messages made to assure everyone’s safety. We praise God for His protection, and we stand ready to serve our neighborhoods as we recover. We know we can do this because we’ve done it before. Our Katrina experience taught us a lot of lessons that we can apply here, and we intend to combine that experience with our resolve to forge ahead!


In spite of all these events, we see the beginnings of sustained improvements within our local real estate market. The first 50 days of this year are pointing to a trend of increased market activity. Year-over-year data from the Hattiesburg Multiple Listing Service (MLS) shows the number of homes under contract, homes sold, and sales volume to be up 54%, 6%, and 11% respectively. These increases are offset to some degree as our level of supply remains elevated, with a 1% increase in homes actively on the market over the same time period last year. Prices in most price ranges also appear to have stabilized. How long this trend will last depends on a multitude of factors, as you can imagine. These factors include long term interest rates, the financial impacts on employers of the new health care legislation, and the employment climate of the Hattiesburg Metro area. Regardless of these unknowns, we certainly welcome the improvements.


We do recognize, however, that to hundreds upon hundreds of our community members and families, market trends and market improvements are not nearly as important as putting the pieces of their lives back in place. These families are experiencing a tremendous sense of loss as they grapple with the destruction of their homes, businesses, and places of employment - and for some - as they recover from any injuries they sustained. It has been heart-warming to witness our churches and volunteer organizations sweep in and offer aid with efficiency and tremendous support. These volunteers are a part of what makes our area a special place to live. We’re dedicated to being a part of that support system. Almost immediately following the February 10th events, we began receiving phone calls and requests to assist those in need of housing - whether rental or purchase. We’ve even had some investors step in and purchase properties that are suitable for storm victims to lease as they begin to pick up the pieces of their lives. We can’t help but be inspired by these community helpers, and are honored to join them.


One of our client couples had a particularly touching reaction to these events - I’ll call them Jim and Jane. Jim and Jane have the benefit of life experience, having lived in their Hattiesburg home for many, many years. After the events of February 10th, they were faced with the overwhelming loss of their home, and the widespread devastation of their neighborhood. They needed a “new place” to start again, and we are grateful to have been able to help them find that new place. As they stepped out of the elevator on their way to leave our office, Jane said, “Well Jim, let’s go start the rest of our lives.” Her words weren’t filled with bitterness or resentment. Instead, they were filled with a sense of wonder and resolve. How inspiring and humbling! We have a tremendous responsibility to the Jims and Janes out there, and we are ready to fulfill that responsibility. Please don’t hesitate to call on our team. We are anxious to help you and/or your loved ones “start the rest of [your] lives” just like Jim and Jane.


Moving forward…


Adam & The Team

Life of Balance

by Jerron Carney

The New Year is in full swing, school is back in session, and the resolutions are at the top of our priority list. What is on your agenda for 2013 - Eating healthier, more exercise, losing weight, living on a budget?


It’s so easy to come out of the gate with much passion to conquer what we so desperately desire. But more often than not, when we give ourselves to something new and exciting, we forget some necessary ingredients to a balanced life. I have found this to be true in my own life. Trying to balance life between church, work, family & friends – I often find the pendulum leaning toward my hobbies and personal interests rather than the things that truly matter most in life. Life just seems to find a way to get out of balance.


Being new to the real estate industry, it has taken much time and energy to begin this new phase of my life. Rules, regulations, clients, new listings, closings, and the list continues to grow. While I am enjoying every second, I have been forced to guard against burnout and fatigue. The last time I checked, there are still 24 hours in a day. Too many times, in my own life, there are items not checked off at the end of the day; and it’s very easy to stress out when these responsibilities are not met. However, we must always remember to keep everything in balance. Balance is different for all us, but it’s of utmost importance that we each find our own, and stick with it. Time is precious – Do not take it for granted. It’s a lot like land, they are not making any more of it.


To put this all in perspective, I’m reminded of what a wise old gentlemen once told me, “Son, keep the main thing the main thing.” In other words, set your priorities and keep it all in balance.

Staying on Our Toes in 2013!

by DeLois Smith

Over the course of my 40 year real estate career right here in The Pine Belt, I have learned that we need to continually ask ourselves: What can we do better? In the wake of a less-than-stellar-period for us – ’09, ’10, ’11, and ’12 – we cannot rest on our laurels, even though we can see some signs of improvement locally, as well as nationally. The market is changing; our customers and clients are changing; and we, too, need to be refining and retooling.


Currently, two members of our support team, Jennifer Beightol and Andrew Bird, client care and listing specialist, are giving up their weekends to participate in a locally offered real estate licensing class in order to improve their services to our clients.


Elizabeth Liggett, our team closing coordinator, continues to lead in offering All Star Access in early February. All Star Access is a custom built, online communications system for our clients. This system provides buyers and sellers a 24/7 online system to access their transaction progress.


Adam Watkins is closing in on the last six months of his MBA at Tulane while starting January 2013 off with $1.3 million in production – quite an amazing feat.


Buyer Specialist, Wendy Gay, has made an impressive business plan for her clients for 2013. Wendy is enthusiastically following her plan daily with the professional assistance of a brilliant national real estate trainer, Brian Buffini. We can’t wait to see the results of Wendy’s strategic focus.


Congratulations to Buyer Specialist, Linda Seifert, for producing the highest single residential sale in the City of Hattiesburg, the 2nd highest in the area market for this January.


It’s been a while since we’ve been able to kick off a new year on an optimistic note, but 2013 stands to be a year for housing where the positives finally outweigh the negative. Of course, the jury is still out on the fiscal cliff along with potential housing policy changes. Despite the policy and economic changes we may face this year, here are my predictions that will most impact our local housing market in the coming months:


• Inventory Reductions
• Local investor confidence
• Return of move-up buyers
• Growing international consumer base
• Increase in new home construction


Two more predictions I really want to include, but do not yet see: 1.) Increasing activity in the high-end of the market, and 2.) Rising home values. We can put these on the “hopeful list”, maybe the 2nd quarter will provide more evidence.


For any of you who have a need to buy up or down because of family need changes or have a family member who needs a home or you could benefit from a single or multi-family investment, RIGHT NOW is the time to buy. Do not wait for rates to rise and investing to decrease!


Our team has loved the opportunity to serve 38 successful buyers or seller transactions this January with $6.5 million in volume. The diversity in age was from early 20’s-80’s. We have recently served families from China, India, Russia, Taiwan, S. Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, California, New York, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippians.


Thanks for your many kind and generous notes and comments about our team service to you and your family and friends. You warm our hearts and encourage us daily. AND WE PLEDGE to you that we will focus on “Staying on Our Toes” in 2013 to continue to add value to you and your family.


Gratefully your Realtors,


Delois & Team

Meet Debra

by Debra Pace

Hello, or as we say in Texas….Howdy! I am Debra K. Pace, the new kid with The All Star Team. I would describe myself as a hard working country girl who is down to earth and approachable by everyone. I left a great career with The Federal Bureau of Prisons to follow my husband to Hattiesburg.

At the Bureau, you were considered to be Federal Law Enforcement with a mandatory retirement at 57! YES, I walked away from that wonderful benefit for the love of my husband! There was not a facility close by for me to transfer to, so it forced me to step out of my comfort zone. In Bryan/College Station, Texas, I had met a Realtor named Cherry Ruffino who had a very motivating story of working her way out of a Safeway Cashier job to the largest producing Real Estate Agent in that area. I remember telling my friend Nancy Jo that I wanted to do that. Although she encouraged me, there was no way I could walk away from a solid career for such an uncertain sales job. Shortly after moving to Hattiesburg, Sharon Register hired me as her Assistant. After a few months, I could see that I could go out on my own and took the leap of faith. I was an Independent agent with Realty Executives for four years, surrounded by great people. I’ll talk more about my decision to move later, but for now, let me introduce my family.


My husband is Alan Pace, we have been married since 1985, and I love him to the moon and back. We both grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas, attending the same school. His grandfather was one of the first chicken growers in the area and his dad followed in his footsteps, they always told Alan to get on the other side of the desk, not to be a chicken grower. He came home one day to say he joined the Army and of course, his first duty station was in Schweinfurt Germany. After 5 years, he realized that furthering his education would enable him to provide for his family more than the Army. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Stephen F. Austin, then onto University of Arkansas for his Master’s Degree course work. He began his poultry career with Sanderson Farms and worked for them for 14 years. He is now with Tyson Foods with the same position, but unfortunately, it took him to North Carolina. Our motto is “we will do what we have to do to get our kids out of college debt free”. Seeing my husband every two weeks is not what I had envisioned for myself at this age, but hopefully the kids will appreciate it one day. God blessed us with two wonderful children who are transitioning to the adult world as we speak.


Kaleb Pace is known as a humble and great guy. He graduated this year from USM. Some of you may know him from Anatomies Fitness Center; he has worked there for six years, currently the Director of the Youth Center. I love going places with him to watch kids run up to him for big hugs in stores or restaurants. He doesn’t realize it, but I think his calling is to be a Youth Minister or something kid related. I’m looking forward for him to be out on his own to gain that independence.


Our beautiful daughter is Lauren Pace, and she is currently a junior at USM, and I say currently a junior, because it seems that she changes her major every semester. The kids put too much pressure on themselves, thinking they have to have a career path right now. I feel they should concentrate on enjoying the college experience and know the career path will come later and probably change a few times. If Lauren had it her way, she would be a Socialite. A few months ago, she was hired by Mugshots as a waitress and she absolutely loves it because she gets to meet so many people. She is the girl that is full of life on campus, loving her sorority sisters at Chi Omega with all of her heart, and all the new friends that she has met along the way. We are so proud of both of our children.


Now that you have met my family, you may be yawning by now because we do not live an exciting lifestyle. Let me close by saying that I am so thankful to Adam and Delois for not giving up on me for the past couple of years and for believing in my abilities to contribute to her incredible team. We have talked about me joining them for awhile, but I was so intimidated by their success, I was afraid that I would not fit in, and worried what my peers would think. I made the decision to join them right before the National Realtors Convention held in November, and when I left them in Orlando to drive home by myself; I had the clarity that I had been praying for. All of their clients and all of our peers need to know that behind the hustle and bustle of the business scene, they really are like family. They put God first, always starting the meetings with prayer request and giving HIM the praise that only HE is worthy of receiving. They run a well-oiled machine; each person has their place in the mechanics of making this model work. They make me want to be a better person and better agent. I do not regret making the move to this team; my only regret is not doing it sooner.


My clients need to know that I will still provide the same great service they are accustomed to receiving from me, and any new clients that I receive need to be prepared to be blown away by my attention to their needs, and work ethic. My close clients refer to me as “passionate about this business”, so call me, let’s buy or sell something together!

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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.