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Displaying blog entries 161-170 of 188

Contentment in today

by Wendy Gay

It’s true! I have a hard time seeing the Big Picture. I guess you could say I’m a little self-absorbed in my own world.

Most people, I guess, have an idealist type view of their future, an idea of who will be in their lives, places they will go, and activities they will accomplish, or at least try.

My vision is pretty limited at this time. This is so ironic because I have spent most of my life “For someday when, and one day if.” Could it be that I’m satisfied and content with my present? Or could it be fear of what lies ahead so therefore I won’t look? I’m pretty well known for not reading the newspaper or watching the news, which I agree is not very wise.

But honestly, I feel my efforts are spent more on the things I can control that hopefully impact the world, one person at a time and those efforts are as menial as making sure Josie Lee Gay has washed behind her ears or as important as the family from Ohio, that has four days to find a home, will have a place to lay their heads next month.

I choose to believe that it’s contentment in today and right where I am at. I’ve finally stopped struggling against the things and events that are outside my control and I’ve found the silver-lining in the gift of Today.

- Today God has granted the gift of freedom.
- Today God has granted the gift of health.
- Today God has granted me the gift of forgiveness followed by grace and therefore hope over my future.

I would like to close with a quote from my good friend and client Hao Xu…


Thank you God for today. “Trust that the events of today carry you to the future, tomorrow.” –Psalm 23:1-6.

Petal named a top town for young families.

by DeLois Smith

Petal was recently named a top town for young families. Check out this report from WDAM featuring our very own Adam Watkins.

WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

November 2013 Star Chat from DeLois

by DeLois Smith

Autumn Greetings!

   Pretty fall mums with pumpkins scattered about, v-shaped formations of geese making their happy sounds on their journey south, cooler breezes and sunny days, black and gold and many other sporting events, Live-at-Five Downtown, pumpkin parties, and up-coming Heavenly Art Exhibition on November 14th at Sarah Gillespie Art Museum at William Carey – these are reflections of this Hub City Autumn of 2013.

   These reminders of our blessings help us to “look up” rather than looking  around at the alarming events of recent weeks – both local and national. This week’s “ Make A Difference” campaign is a step in the right direction.

   Larry “Doc” Harrington, father of our dear friend Brigadier General Larry Harrington, led a most exemplarly life. Several generations of USM athletes and thousands of Army officers have been impacted by his model. His devotion to USM aided in bringing about an economic boost to the school equalling millions of dollars.  

  Our goal with each Star Chat edition is to provide some local and national information impacting the real estate industry – especially focusing on our homes and residential real estate investments.  This article focuses on the realities of ObamaCare, the recent government shut down, and other economic factors affecting the current real estate market.


Housing affordability is at 156 which means good market conditions for buyers.

Interest rates have been bouncing between 4.3% to 4.7% and are projected to be 5% by spring of 2014.

Local residential MLS supply is 8.84 months.

Average days on the market for the area MLS is 95.4 days; average for our team is currently 69 days.

Foreclosures Sales in our local MLS closed year-to-date are 299 of the total 1237 single family houses sold or 24.1%. Nationwide the foreclosure  accounted for only 14% of the September sales. This directly correlates with the fact that our area entered the recession period behind other parts of the US; and we are trailing coming out.

Locally and nationally we are experiencing delays in processing loans which is a direct result of the government shutdown.

USDA financing is frozen now and we do not know when it will be funded.  Our team currently has two sellers and buyers who cannot move toward closing. This delay costs everyone concerned; and of course this delay will cause some contracts to terminate.

Higher flood insurance rates went into effect October 1st.  Realtors nationwide have reported approximately 10% of transactions in September were located in flood zones, and that one out 10 of those transactions were delayed or canceled due to concerns over rising flood insurance rates. Another issue is the ever-expanding boundaries of FEMA’s flood zones.

The 3.8% and .09% new taxes designed to fund $240 billion over the next ten years into “ObamaCare” and Medicare became effective January 1, 2013. For the 95% of Americans who make less than $200,000 as individuals or $250,000 as a couple adjusted gross income, the tax does not apply.

Gains on a personal residence will seldom be affected because the tax is on gains exceeding the $250,000 individual exemption or $500,000 exemption for a couple.

The 3.8% or .09% will more often apply to the sale of second or third homes, investment property or inherited property. It applies on interest, dividends, rents and capital gains. Below is an example of a how this may apply to certain individuals.


Always, when considering any real estate transaction, whether it be buying or selling, get advice from your own tax professional.


 Thank you again for your many acts of kindness, loyalty, and encouraging remarks to us and to your friends and family.  We always want to hear from you anytime we can be resourceful or helpful.


Blessings to you and your family,



DeLois and Team

Fourteen years of change for the better

by Josh Bellew

Fourteen years ago I moved to Hattiesburg to attend The University of Southern Mississippi. When I moved here I had no intention of staying after I graduated. I was going to leave town right after I received my diploma and only visit during Homecoming. I didn’t have any negative feelings toward this town, I just could not see myself living here. I grew up on The Coast and viewed Hattiesburg as a small town with not much to offer in terms of jobs and what I considered to be good quality of life factors. 

I remember my parents telling stories about how everyone questioned when they built Roses and University Mall (now known as Mid-Town Market)  “out in the country”. When I was in high school I visited my brother for a few days to get a feeling for the college life. While visiting he took me to the new Turtle Creek Mall. Once again everyone was wondering why they built in so far out. 

When I was enrolled at USM it was known as a suitcase college. Every weekend the students would head out of town as quickly as they could, only to return late Sunday night or early Monday morning. There was little for young adults to do, much less a place for many of them to work. It seemed that everyone wanted it to change, but nothing was being done to fix this. 

Little did I know that there were plans in the works from various groups in the area. During one of my internships I was asked to attend a networking meeting hosted by The Area Development Partnership. It was during this meeting that I learned I was not the only one that wished for change in the area. A spokesperson for The ADP spoke about plans to bring more jobs into the area and ways to keep young adults from moving away once they graduated. I thought it was a lofty goal and probably just a few talking points to make everybody feel better. 

Luckily, I was wrong. Over the past 14 years I have seen this city transform leaps and bounds to a place that I am happy to call home. 

What was once a dwindling downtown area with vacant buildings and empty lots is now beginning to thrive thanks to the efforts of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association and several forward thinking business owners and developers. Thanks to these groups downtown Hattiesburg is bustling with numerous restaurants, shops, art events, and festivals that create exciting experiences for all involved. 

The student life at USM has changed for the better. The improvements made to the campus since I graduated have been phenomenal. It is a joy to walk around the campus now. There are also more activities to keep students on campus and bring alumni back to campus. Does anyone remember USM tailgating 14 years ago? I sure do, and it was absolutely boring. 

The medical community in Hattiesburg has blossomed to be one of the leading medical communities in the Southeast. For the population size of Hattiesburg, we are very fortunate to have access to the quality health care professionals that have decided to practice in our area. With the addition of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University, Hattiesburg has become not only a place for quality doctors to practice, but also a place to train future doctors. 

With the growth of Camp Shelby into one of the United States military’s major training facilities, Hattiesburg has seen a tremendous population growth. Because of the strong education, military, and medical community that we have it is no wonder that other business decided to locate in Hattiesburg, bringing more job opportunities and an excellent quality of life this town.  

From looking at future development plans by both the local governments and private developers for each part of town, I am confident in knowing that the best is yet to come. Community progress can often seem slow, but when I think back on the past 14 years I have seen what can quickly be done by groups of people that have a deep passion and love for their community.Perhaps I’m getting older, but the more I see Hattiesburg change, the more I think we are heading in the right direction.

Fall brings accomplishments in education and sales

by Adam Watkins

Fall is in the air!  What a tremendous year this has been thus far with a lot of accomplishments and life-changing events for members of our team and the clients we serve.  As we look toward the final quarter of 2013, our team is encouraged by the market activity we have experienced over the first 3 quarters of 2013. 

Average sales prices per unit have remained about the same when compared to 2012, but total sales volume and number of sales is up about 20% over the same period of 2012.  Interest rates remain near record-lows, and inventory is quite healthy.  We presently have new construction opportunities throughout the Oak Grove and Petal markets between $120,000 and $365,000 that will be available for purchase in time for celebrating the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  Many of these can be purchased with $0 Down/$0 Closing costs if the purchaser qualifies for USDA or VA financing.  Contact one of our team members who can connect you with the appropriate lenders making these offers as well as the homes that qualify.

As usual, The All-Star Team is making investments in education of our team members so that we may provide our clients with the most highly-credentialed real estate sales team in the Pine Belt.  Sales and Support team members will attend training courses in San Francisco at the beginning of November at the National Association of REALTORS’ annual convention.  This annual experience will be the capstone to a year’s worth of educational accomplishments.  Jennifer Beightol and Andrew Bird completed coursework for licensure earlier this year.  Jennifer is presently completing courses that will allow her to attain her G.R.I. designation (Graduate REALTOR Institute) as well as attaining her brokers license.  She began her new role as Team Administrator at the beginning of September as well.  And, much to the relief of Amelia, DeLois, and the Team, I completed my Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) with Finance Concentration from Tulane University in New Orleans back in June, after 20 grueling months of study.   When complemented by over 200 years of combined experience in the real estate industry, these educational investments provide a wealth of knowledge for our clients that is unmatched in our region.  You can expect us to continue fine-tuning our skills as practitioners both in the field and the classroom.

Congratulations are in order to DeLois and The Team for recording the largest sale of 2013 for the HAAR MLS this past month.  It is one of only two sales recorded over $1 Million in the current production year, and the highest-valued sale ever recorded for Canebrake subdivision.  So far this year, The Team has been involved in 50% of the recorded sales over $700,000 in Canebrake.  We remain thankful and honored by the opportunity to represent some of the finest homes in our marketplace.  At the same time, we are keenly aware of how important each home purchase is, whether it’s a starter home or a luxury residence.  You can’t bring families home again and again (and generation after generation) without recognizing that within every price range is someone’s dream home.  That’s why we make it a point to seek out the best homes in all price ranges to serve every life stage.  Just ask Andrew Bird, our newest Buyer Specialist, who recently helped close a sale for some excited first time home buyers!

Our campaign to increase our social media presence and be accessible to our friends and clients in multiple ways is growing.  In the last two months, our official team page on Facebook has grown by nearly 150%.  Increasingly, our monthly Tour of Homes is being promoted through online mediums - including Facebook.  If you haven’t already done so, please be sure and “Like” us on Facebook and join our real estate conversation.  You can find our page by logging onto our webpages, or, and clicking on the Facebook icon.  Or, direct your web browser to  Hope to see you there soon!

We look forward to serving you or someone you know in the near future.  We’ll have the perfect opportunity to do so at our final Tours of Homes for 2013, scheduled for October 6th and November 3rd.  For the complete schedule, be sure and check our website and/or Facebook page.   As always, we remain ready to earn and keep your trust again and again.

Adam & Team

Creating lasting, rewarding memories

by Linda Seifert

This past week, I had an opportunity to spend some quality time with my two youngest grandsons, Gunnar, age 8 and Gage, age 2.  (My oldest, Dylan….the ‘Dyl Man’, is a sophomore engineering student at Mississippi State).  

To say that Gunnar and Gage kept me hopping is an understatement!  I love the outdoors as they seem to do also, so we had a great time!  We took several walks with my pulling them in their little red wagon ‘uphill’….ouch!  I also rode the 2 year old on the 8 year olds mini four wheeler which goes all of 8 miles per hour.  I must say my backside got a real workout bouncing along the roadway!  Gage squealed with delight however and protested disembarking by repeating more….more!   

Gunnar is into football and we practiced field goals and passes with gusto!  Like his parents he watches the Saints with interest and enthusiasm!  He has an amazing understanding of the game and its players which his ‘Nana’ still struggles with even though I do have a basic knowledge of the rules.  

The time invested with these precious boys is always rewarding with lots of hugs and giggles, and I see through their eyes all the wonder and excitement of the good things childhood has to offer.  I am reminded of how lucky they are to have sweet loving parents, grandparents and a myriad of family and friends that adore them, treasure them and have hopes and dreams for their bright futures.     

I get some of the same warm and fuzzy feelings when I have an opportunity to help a family find their own piece of the American dream through home ownership.  I love the smiles, laughter and, yes, even prayers of thanksgiving received from my clients when a new home is purchased.  

Our Team is dedicated to offering the best possible home selling and buying experience.  Our ultimate hope is that you will spend a lifetime of memory making experiences in your homes and know that we genuinely wish for you a ‘happily ever after’!  


Live and Love well!  


Star Chat with DeLois

by DeLois Smith

Dear Friends,

What a fast-moving, productive and legendary summer!  As we continue to emerge from a very difficult market, out team sees new opportunities to change our Stars.  We are seizing these opportunities to not just move the bar, but to raise it and knock the top off the lid with a new standard of excellence.

So what does it mean to provide legendary service?

It means we know our business.  We study, learn and become educated beyond the minimum; we become experts in our market and provide more knowledge and information because we are professionals.

It means that we use today’s technology so we can communicate with our clients the way they prefer to be communicated with.

It means we use the most skilled personnel whether it is in home preparation and showmanship, photography, videography, editing, search engine optimization, social media, accuracy of data input, selling, negotiating, or coordinating the closing process.

It means doing the right thing – every time, in every situation, regardless of the personal consequences. When we serve honestly and ethically, everyone benefits: our clients, other agents, the public at large, other industry specialists and our families.

A current example of productive service is the Quick-Turn-Around chart below.  These are some of our recent property sales where the home was listed with another local Realtor prior to our listing.  Most of these sellers wrote to express their appreciation.



Other All Star news events I would like to share from the fast-moving summer happenings:

Team Production of closed sales as of August 31st is at 71.9% of our 2013 goal of $62 million in sales closed! (Brenda and Linda are busy planning our team trip!)

Support staff members, Jennifer Beightol and Andrew Bird, have become licensed Realtors adding more flexible services to our clients.

All Star Access is now live! This is an online system which will allow our buying and selling clients 24/7 access to listing status, documents and communication with our Team!

Wendy Gay, Buyer Specialist, was an honored hostess at the home of her new home buyer, Brett Montague. The occasion was a delightful house warming party for his friends.  Father  Godfrey provided a special prayer and blessing for the home.

Team’s Most Successful Open House ever was held August 4th at 219 and 223 West Canebrake.  Sixteen families enjoyed a tour. The event generated a successful offer on 219 West Canebrake as well as other interested buyer prospects.

Josh Bellew reports on recent online marketing activity. “Recent changes have continued to increase our already strong exposure on search engines.  Our average daily page views on have increased 70% and we have had a 30% increase in the number of unique visitors to our site.  A recent push on our social media sites has also dramatically increased the number of clients that we can connect with on a daily basis.”

More news, but on a personal level.  Our family has wedding bells ringing on September 20th in a beautiful private garden in Columbus for Grandson Andrew Lewis and his model bride, Kinsey Byrd, of Long Beach. Both will be in graduation ceremonies at Mississippi State University on  December 13th with Kinsey completing a master’s degree in Geo-engineering and Andrew a B. S. in Agri-economics.

Our team meets every Monday morning to focus our hearts and minds on gratitude to God for the special blessing of serving you, to pray for focus and compassion to serve effectively and to pray for any of you that we know of with special needs. We thank you for these opportunities.


With gratitude,


DeLois and Team

Summer brings more activity to Hattiesburg market

by Adam Watkins

Welcome to the “Dog Days of August!”  We’ll see how well August 2013 lives up to its moniker and how welcome those days will be.  For the most part, this summer has seemed “cooler” in temperature, but our market has been more active overall than in the past two summers.  We experienced the biggest June in our team’s history…closing a total of 46 sales in the month (26 in the final week alone)!  June was also the second highest month of closed sales ever. Total sales volume is up about 18% market-wide on average, according to the Hattiesburg Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  The largest sales volume areas of Oak Grove, Petal, and Southwest Hattiesburg have seen average volume increases between 18% and 28%.  The only sector of Hattiesburg City that is running counter to this trend is Northwest Hattiesburg where volume is down 31% over the same time period last year.  Sumrall and Purvis markets have experienced volume increases of 30% and 35% respectively over 2012.  However, the average sales price according to the MLS has dipped slightly (down 1%) over a year ago from $145,505 to $143,466 as of this writing.  Additionally, the total properties active on the MLS are up by 6% over last year from 2,399 to 2,558.   

What does all of this mean?  I interpret it to mean that buyer activity has definitely increased - having built-up over the last several years as people postponed purchasing decisions due to uncertainty in the market.  Now, with low interest rates, stability in the employment market returning, and the belief that prices are going to trend upward in the coming year, buyers have returned with greater confidence.  Some of them are recognizing the value of owning in economic terms (such as tax deductions, low costs of borrowing, inflation protection, and appreciation potential).  Others recognize that home is more than a monetary decision - it’s a place that can return value to their family in ways that can’t always be calculated in the terms of a dollar.  Value like pride of ownership; personal enjoyment of a place they own; a stage for making memories - raising their families; or adapting their lifestyle to a place absent of children but welcoming to grandchildren.  To many, these are the most important reasons for home ownership that pay the largest return. 

 Even though buyer activity has increased, I believe the data shows us that sellers must still remain realistic about the price and condition they present to the market.  Volume and activity have increased, but so has the standing inventory of active listings (up 6%).  This means that some of the increase in demand is being balanced by an increase in supply.  In some price ranges (see our monthly Market Update), buyers must be prepared to expect less flexibility from sellers as they negotiate a purchase agreement.  Simultaneously, in other price ranges, sellers must recognize that there really are other choices on the market where buyers can negotiate better terms.  As a rule of thumb, 4 to 6 month supplies are considered to be in equilibrium; less than 4 months favors sellers; more than 6 months favors buyers.  

 The bottom line is that as our market is shifting once more, you need to be informed about the specifics of the location and price range activity of the property you own by professionals who have experience and understanding of how those trends impact the sale of a property.  In the near term, we must be mindful of the recent increase in interest rates that has driven purchasing activity, presumably with buyers trying to lock in rates before they could increase further.  It remains to be seen if this will result in a slow down in buyer activity in future months, since some buyers that may have planned to purchase in November are now purchasing in August instead.  A similar pattern resulted following the first-time home buyer tax credit that expired in the spring of 2010.  Eventually, activity returns because the need for housing is ever-present - regardless of what the interest rates might be.  To put it in perspective, even though rates are up about 1% over 8 to 12 weeks ago, they still remain in the 4% range, which pales in comparison to the interest rates of the 90’s, and especially the 80’s.  Overall, the opportunities for buyers in our market remains very strong.

 I hope you’ll take the time to take a look at our August Tour of Homes schedule included in this edition of Star Chat.  Our tour format allows you the opportunity to preview several homes in one afternoon. We strategically open them in 30 minute increments all over our area to allow purchasers to see more homes in one time period.  Our team members will be hosting each home on the tour.  You will find the schedule posted on our website at the week before the tour, as well as on our team’s Facebook page.  So, be sure to like our page on Facebook and “share” the schedule with someone you know who could benefit from the opportunity to tour these homes. 

 It was wonderful to see well over a hundred of you at our annual July 4th Celebration at Canebrake Clubhouse!!!  It seems every year our team walks away saying, “This was the best one yet!”  This year was no different.  We look forward to this event each year and begin planning it in the late winter of each year.  Just know that you and your family are always welcome at this celebration.  So mark it on your calendar for next year!  We hope that those of you who attended were rewarded with a great experience, fantastic food, and the opportunity to catch up with us, catch up with old friends, and even make some new ones!!!  We are thankful for those of you who took special part in the program by speaking, singing, and showing that American spirit as you proudly wore your red, white, and blue.  We’ve shared a few photos in this newsletter, but have more posted on our Facebook page.  Be sure to “Like” us and tag yourself in the photos!  At the event we had attendees guess how many sales we’d closed in the last decade…one of you suggested 55,000!  We’ve got a little over 52,000 to go to make that mark, so keep those referrals coming!  As always, we are honored to serve you and those you care about.

From Debra's Desk

by Debra Pace

What a record year we are heading towards in this market.  The interest rates are moving up, so if you are waiting for a better deal, please do not hesitate much longer.  My sweet couple buying their first home this month was sad to see their payments had gone up by $150.00 per month since the rates were in the 3% range when we initially started looking for homes.  

With that record year, come more great clients.  I appreciate every one of the people that I have helped.  I learn something from each person and with each transaction.  Most of my clients end up being friends, staying in my cell phone as contacts.  I love the random text that I receive from them wishing me well or needing help with something.  Having someone call me as a referral from a past client is equivalent to receiving a trophy at the end of the game - you know you did something right to receive the honor.  

Speaking of doing something right….If you want to invest in real estate, it’s a great time to consider that.  I have a few investors that I represent and some will make a very handsome profit from rehabilitating (flipping) investment and estate properties this year.  Sure, it’s getting more competitive, but if you have someone knowledgeable about the market watching for you, the possibilities are awesome.   It’s all about timing, location, condition, and price.  Personally, I love seeing the before and after projects.  So, if you are ready to dabble or do it full time, call me for a meeting to discuss the details.  Let’s sell something together!

I want to close by giving thanks to our staff.  We have the very best staff working behind the scenes to make us look awesome.   It’s a true definition of teamwork that clients should be proud to have representing them.  We could not be as successful as we are without each of them:  Ben, Josh, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Hulene, and Andrew.  In addition, we have the best and probably the only Stager in town Vickie, who does amazing transformations on our listings.  All of them are amazing individuals and a lot of fun to work with.  

Enjoy the rest of your summer and have a great school year!

So this is "Back to School"

by Jennifer Beightol

It is almost time to get back to the usual routine.  Hard to believe – summer seems to have just started - but yes – it is time to gear up for back to school. Registration is underway.  LISTS of school supplies will soon be available. Back packs – mechanical pencils – baby wipes – loose leaf paper –Kleenex – crayons and markers – will overflow the store shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, Office Depot and the Dollar Stores. 

As back to school time approaches - it is as if you could almost smell the freshly waxed floors of the classroom.

This year is going to be a little different at our house….the usual routine of back to school won’t be so usual. This year is the year our daughter begins her college career. If you think (like I did) the kiddos need a bunch of stuff to go to school in K – 12, well just you wait. Very market savvy companies have very sophisticated marketing campaigns targeted at those 18 to 22 year olds … they have LISTS – lists that let college students know about all the things they will need to be successful in their studies (cause that is why they are going to college…right?). Admittedly, some of the things are truly necessary – others – well - maybe not so much. Here is a sampling of some of the must or should haves on LISTS we have seen ….and purchases we have made. 

Duct Tape; Hurley 15” Backpack; Cocoon GRID-IT organizing system; Door Mirror;  Incase Neoprene Pro Sleeve; Speck SmartShell case; Tooth brush; HP Photosmart Printer; Laptop; Camera; Umbrella;  LaCie 500GBPorsche Design P’9223US; Mobee Magic Charger; Q-tips; Flash light; Antibiotic cream;  Beats Solo HD On-Ear Headphone; Pillow; Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Speaker; Hand Vac; Steamer; Water Pitcher w/ Filters; Coffee Maker; Curtain Panels; Body Pillow; Bed Bug Spray; Surge Protector; Ramen Noodles; Ethernet Cable; Pizza Cutter; Board Games; Snow Shovel; Band aids; Sheets XLT; Mattress Pad; Memory foam Mattress topper; Bedcaddy; Bicycle; Sleep mask;   oh yes and pens, paper, pencils and a desk lamp.

I think we have successfully navigated the “LISTS.” The only necessary items left to get are the pens, paper, pencils …oh yes… and a desk lamp.




Displaying blog entries 161-170 of 188




Contact Information

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.