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Getting Started in the 'Burg

by Dennis Baum, Listing/Buyer Specialist

     July 4, 2018 will mark the 6th year anniversary of my association with the All-Star Team. Within the course of those years I've had the opportunity to list and sell dozens of properties, at all different prices, and in a wide variety of conditions.

     Our move to the ‘Burg 6 years ago was the result of a decision my wife Dixie, and I made in order to be closer to our kids and grandchildren. I had been a Realtor in Dallas since 1995, and although I knew a good bit about the real estate business, I didn't know a soul in Hattiesburg.

     In order to build a business, I could either sit and wait for my phone to ring or proactively go forth into the public domain, join organizations, meet people, and establish roots. As the former prospect would most likely result in starvation, the later necessarily was the course of action I chose to pursue!

     Calling on “expireds” is one of the most effective ways to garner listings; and in real estate, listings are the "name of the game". An expired listing is one which has reached the end of the contractual relationship between the listing agent and the seller. These expired sellers (and For Sale by Owners) is where I have focused much of my prospecting and business development attention.

     Recently an expired listing at 269 W Lake Road appeared on my "radar". Through the  research and investigative process I employ, I was able to contact one of the heirs of the Cole family, who after considerable discussion, graciously allowed me to list the home his father had built for their family on Lake Serene in the 1970’s.

     Having provided you with a bit of background, I wish to tell you about this magnificent home and property on Lake Serene, which you have been driving past and admiring subconsciously for years. It’s the lovely home with the pillars in front that sits above its own private pond on West Lake Rd on Lake Serene; immediately north and across West Lake Rd form the Lake Serene Club House and immediately next to the Lake Serene Walking Trail. This is possibly the finest estate property I have had the pleasure of listing since I began selling real estate in Hattiesburg, some 6 years ago. 

     Situated on the most gorgeous, elevated, gently rolling 7.5 A tract in Hattiesburg, the price to $499K. A huge cement pond with a walking bridge graces the entrance to the estate, making this home distinctive and elegant. Joanna, one of the vendors who works for the All Star Team in our "make ready" department and helped prepare this home prior to listing, commented recently that years ago, with her wedding day approaching, Mrs. Katherine Cole (the lady of the house) allowed her and her wedding party, to take her wedding pictures on that very same bridge. 

     Words simply cannot describe the magnificent beauty this property provides. Beautiful sunrise over Lake Serene, after thrilling sunrise, has graced this landscape throughout time immemorial. Flocks of Canadian take flight, and tall pines are positioned all around at attention. 

     The 4700 sq ft, 2 story home is superbly built, and features 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, and a half bath. But wait, there's a lot more! You'll find garage space for 6 cars, and a shed to accommodate 4 additional vehicles or implements. Also included is a huge, covered family pavilion and outdoor kitchen, a classic merry-go-round for the chillin' and grandkids, plus a greenhouse. Your own private 2 bay boat hose with eclectic lifts is located immediately across the street where you can whisk you and your guests on your own motorized golf cart (included)! All Lake Serene privileges are conveyed with the purchase.

Thanks in advance for your assistance and consideration!

Dennis "Den" Baum; All Star Team Realtors; Hattiesburg, MS 39402; 601-402-1993

Trends of 2018

by DeLois Smith

Dear Friends,

     The joy, hope, and reassurance of Easter has been a special blessing with beautiful choral music ringing forth from local church choruses and congregations and numerous well-attended special Easter services. Spring is truly here in all of its grandeur! Our Hattiesburg area has been breathtaking for a few weeks now. I wish all of you who have moved away could come back home to enjoy this beautiful burst of splendor. We invite you any time!

     Here at the end of the first quarter of 2018, changes are very obvious in the residential market! First is the imbalance of supply and demand. Homebuyers are experiencing some severe shortage of supply in the $100,000 - $200,000 price ranges in most locations. Petal has only a 1 ½ month supply in the $200- $250,000 range. At the same time, in the city and Oak Grove, the supply ranges from 7 ½ to 18 months in the $300,000 - $750,000 ranges. However, based on specific needs, such as location, amenities, features, or style, there are definite shortages in the $300,000 and above price ranges also.

     Secondly, I believe everyone knows that interest rates are rising (currently at 4.625% on Conventional, 30-year fixed.) A mortgage rate increase of 4.5% to 5.0% adds $60 for the typical monthly payment. Lenders will offer other concessions to cash in on rising demand. Just last week, I was involved with a buyer and lender working on a 1% down conventional 30-year mortgage and a 1.5% FHA mortgage- a good example of how creative lenders become to meet market demands. 

     Thirdly, inflation is rising. “Rising labor costs, increased government spending, and housing shortages are the main pressure points,” Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist. Though the inflation data is a concern, an easy way to hold down inflation is to build more homes. More inventory will mean a slower rise in home pricing.

     As Realtors, we are proud of the professionalism in our local Greater Hattiesburg Home Builders Association and the higher standards of our local licensed home builders. The challenges they face are intense as they work with constantly rising prices in materials and shortages in skilled labor force plus changing regulations. Our team is a member of the Greater Hattiesburg Home Builders Association in order to understand the issues, changing trends, and new regulations, and to create smoother relationships as we are involved in marketing newly constructed homes, presales, and custom homes.

     Another new trend: Many builders are switching to starter homes, which are sorely lacking. More first-time buyers are feeling the urge to get into the market before prices and interest rates price them out of the market. For years, builders focused on higher-end homes which promised higher profits. Now there are plenty of big houses and far too few smaller homes for younger buyers and not enough homes for the boomers and senior buyers who are ready for a smaller home with lots of amenities with one floor on a level lot.        

    Thanks to our outstanding Marketing Director, Jennifer Upton, our All-Star Team website continues to function as cutting-edge technology with 102,809 page views on our site year-to-date (3/27/2018).  Many of our clients comment regularly that our site is their “go-to” for much of their housing information resource. Most rewarding is when buyers come to closings and tell me they have been on our website every day for the past year!

    We currently need new properties to serve the needs of current buyers. Our team goal and focus is always to “sell for a better bottom line in a shorter marketing time”, providing a full “team” of highly- trained specialists. During the first quarter, our 6 Realtor team average days on the market has been 70, with 40 properties closed for a volume of $10,736,000- average sales price of $268,400. To put these numbers in clearer perspective, the average agent in our local MLS has closed less than 1 transaction in the first quarter (.89 unit).

    These accomplishments are made possible by your continued enthusiastic support. If you are thinking of selling or know of a friend or family member who may need or want to sell, our team is in position to serve those needs now!

 Happy spring celebrations to you and your family!

LAMAR COUNTY DAY OUT AGAINST LITTER SET FOR APRIL 28th

by BUSTER WOLFE

The following was published on hattiesburgspokes.com 3/28/2018 

Lamar County residents are being asked to mobilize April 28 for the third annual Day Out Against Litter to pick up garbage along streets and highways.

Last year, more than 200 volunteers collected 350 bags of garbage to overtake the first year’s production. Volunteers came from Oak Grove (77 people), Sumrall (50), Purvis (30) and Lumberton (87).

District 2 Supervisor Warren Byrd gave Lumberton residents special praise after last year’s event.

“I am tickled pink and (Lumberton residents) know because I’ve been nagging them with text messages and phone calls,” he said. “I am very proud; I had a lot of support and I had a lot of good county people there. … We had more kids than we’ve ever had. We had teams and we had churches.”

The Board of Supervisors is trying to enlist sponsors so that volunteers will be able to have a hamburger lunch after the litter pickup.

REGISTRATION LOCATIONS (4/28/2018 @ 8AM)

Oak Grove - Arnold Line Community Center

Sumrall - Sumrall Community Center

Lumberton - Lumberton Senior Center

Purvis - Multi-Purpose Center

LET'S PULL TOGETHER & KEEP LAMAR COUNTY A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE!

Testimonial, Seller 2018

by

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!​

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. 

The famous quote by Mark Twain in the title of this article can be used to describe home ownership in America today. Last week, the Census revealed that the percentage of homeowners in the country increased for the first time in thirteen years.

story in the Wall Street Journal gave these new home ownership numbers some context:

“The annual increase marks a crucial turning point because it comes after the federal government reined in bubble-era policies that encouraged banks to ease lending standards to boost home ownership. This time, what’s driving the market is a shift in favor of owning rather than renting.

‘This is market, market and market…There’s no government incentive program in sight that is having this effect,’ said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, ‘This is back to basics.’”

In a separate report comparing the rental population in America to the homeowner population, RentCafé also concluded that the gap is now shrinking.

“Undoubtedly, the recession had a great impact on home ownership…However, it looks like it takes more to discourage Americans from buying a house than that.

As the years go by, it seems more and more certain that the fact that renting has seen a sudden gain in popularity is more a reaction to the economic crisis than a paradigm shift in the Americans’ attitude toward housing.”

America’s belief in home ownership was also evidenced in a recent survey, by Pew Research. They asked consumers “How important is home ownership to achieving the American Dream?”

The results:

  • 43% said home ownership was essential to the American Dream
  • 48% said home ownership was important to the American Dream
  • Only 9% said it was not important

Bottom Line

Home ownership has been, is and will always be a crucial element of the American Dream.

The 'Rose' Story

by Unknown

    Red roses were her favorite since her name was also Rose. Her husband sent them every year tied up with pretty bows. The very same year he passed away, roses were sent to her door. The card read, “Be My Valentine,” like the years before. Each year he sent her roses and the note would always say, “I love you even more this year than last year on this day. My love for you will always grow with every passing year.” She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear. He must have ordered the roses long before this day. Her loving husband did not know that he would pass away. He liked to do things early, long before the time, then in case he got too busy, it would work out fine. Then, exactly one year later, as on Valentines before, the door bell rang and there were roses sitting by her door. She brought the roses into the house and looked at them in shock. Then nervously, grabbed the phone and called the florist shop. The owner answered the phone and she asked if he’d explain. Why would someone do this to her and cause her so much pain? “There also is another thing I think that you should hear. Your husband left a special card to give to you this year.” Deep within the flowers she found the card he wrote. And folded up inside it was a hand written note….

To My Dearest Rose,
       The love we shared made everything so beautiful in my life. I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife. You were my friend and lover. You fulfilled my every need. I know it’s only been a year but try not to grieve. I want you to be happy even when you shed your tears. And that’s why the roses will be sent for many years. I have loved you all my life and you know I always will. So for me, my love, you must go on for you have some living still. These roses will come every year and they will only stop when your door isn’t answered to the florist’s friendly knock. He will take then to the very place where I’ve instructed him, and place the roses where we are, together once again.

 

Millennials vs The Housing Market

by Ki Bradford, Client Care Coordinator

Millennials – I’m a millennial. What comes to mind when you think of us? The lazy generation? The generation drowning in debt (thanks to college)?  The generation filled with indecisiveness and instability? The list goes on and on. All can be deemed true, to an extent. Within the housing market, experts say that millennials are ruining the market because they aren’t buying. But the question that I would like to pose is - why are millennials not buying? And how can we push, or encourage, millennials to buy?

 To be quite honest, I never thought of owning a house until I reach my 30s. I have a Pinterest board strictly dedicated to how I envision my ideal dream house – all white kitchen with marble floors, located somewhere in Tennessee with a beautiful garden and ranch – basically an Oprah-inspired estate. I believe this is the mindset of most millennials. We want our dream home and it cannot be anything simple. In order for us to consider purchasing a home, it has to meet our qualifications. I guess you can say the “dream” is the ultimate goal. You know– the dream career, the dream car, and the dream house. Which is fine. However, working at a real estate office, fresh out of college, gives you a more realistic perspective on how the housing market works.  Who’s buying? What are they buying and where? How much can a person really afford? There’s a long list of questions and at times it can seem overwhelming, especially to someone who is just starting their career. I believe the housing market is a topic that is rarely discussed. My suggestion would be to start the discussion at an early age. Here are a few statistics to get the discussion started.

According to 2015 US Census, millennials (born between the years of 1980 – 2000) are made up 78.9 million people. They are now considered the largest living generation in the United States. Which means there are plenty of first time home buyers within this age group. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide a bright outlook of the housing market for millennial buyers. It is so important for them to- 1) be prepared and 2) be informed. Please share consider sharing this information with someone who is contemplating buying a home – family members, church members, friends, neighbors and colleagues.  

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 123

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.