All posts by Eileen Saunders

A daughter, sister, wife, mom and friend. I am married to the love of my life, have two awesome sons and a dog. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and remember that my photos are copyrighted; please ask first before using them. Thanks.

How To Clean and Organize

While most of us are stuck at home with the Stay At Home orders this April, why not take the time to clean and organize? You know that you’ve had that To-Do list in the back of Stay at Homeyour head, or back of your junk drawer, for several years but haven’t had the time to do anything. This April we were all blessed with the ability to stay home and use our time to work on the inside and outside of our homes, so let’s take advantage of it.

So, where do you start?

I keep a To-Do notebook. I am a papryrophile (a.k.a. stationery hoarder) so I tend to pick the fancily-designed, spiral-bound, lined-paged books from the office supply store. It strangely makes me feel that the To-Do list is relatively important, so it belongs in an important looking book. But, you can use your kid’s spare composition book that isn’t getting used this school year.

Now that you have the paper for the list, let’s figure out what to do. You can get started by simply listing all of the spaces in your house on one sheet of paper: living room, bedroom, kitchen, hall closet, etc. Or, you could list each space on a separate sheet of paper and make sublists of exactly what you want to accomplish in each space. I’m calling them “space” because I want you to think of them that way instead of as rooms. For example list separately the closets in your house rather than putting “closets” on your list and lumping them together. If you’re like me, all of my closets serve different purposes and some don’t need spring cleaning. Another space to list could be the screened porch but the unscreen patio would also be a separate space because you can only do one space at a time. It’s really up to you, but I’m sharing what works for me.

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Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

So, sublists for the kitchen could look like this: upper cabinets, lower cabinets, drawers, pantry, stove top, microwave, etc. Once you clean out the upper cabinets, put a line through it on your list and watch that To-Do list become a Done list. When you have completed a page, put a big X through it and you’re done in that space!

I find cleaning to be overwhelming especially when I find something that I want to spend time with, like a photo album I forgot I had. By making a detailed, room-by-room list I am less overwhelmed. I can also see my progress and if I get slowed down by something I wasn’t expected, I can make a new list to see my progress.

Some of you don’t need this kind of planning. Others do. It’s all your perspective on your time, your space and what you want to accomplish.

For someone who plans to sell their house or is moving to a new rental property in the very near future, this kind of To-Do listing might help a lot. If you are moving or plan to move, then get rid of the things you don’t need or want now. If disposing can wait until the Stay At Home orders are lifted, hold a yard sale in May. I have a feeling there will be a lot of yard sales when this is over.

Moving can be costly especially if you are paying a moving company. They charge by the pound so it is to your advantage to send that 3-foot high pile of magazines you haven’t touched in the past 5 years to the recycling bin. That extra weight removed, will save you money. It is surprising how many pounds your can shed and dollars you can save by purging before you move.

Forbes recently published an article about cleaning and organizing with some great tips. It, too, goes room by room, space by space, (see I’m not the only one to call it space) to help you organize. The article touches more on organizing your spaces with cabinetry, furniture, baskets and more, while my tips are more for getting the job of cleaning and clearing out done. But check out the article anyway here:

How to Clean and Organize Your Space for Spring

Need help preparing to get your house in Oxford, MS or surrounding areas listed? If you aren’t already working with a real estate agent, I can help you organize and get your home listed, too. I look forward to hearing from you.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com

Reasons To Use A REALTOR

The following is reprinted with permission from the Tommy Morgan Inc Realtors email newsletter March 2020 and the National Association of REALTORS website:

Why is Tommy Morgan Realtors the best choice?

REALTORS® aren’t just agents. They’re professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. This is the REALTOR® difference for home buyers:

  1. Ethical Treatment
    Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®’s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. The first obligation is to you, the client. 
  2. An expert guide
    Buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved, so you want to work with a professional who can speak the language. 
  3. Objective information and opinions
    REALTORS® can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property. REALTORs® can use that data to help you determine if the property has what you need. By understanding both your needs and search area, they can also point out neighborhoods you don’t know much about but that might suit your needs better than you’d thought. 
  4. Expanded search power
    Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A REALTOR® can help you find opportunities not listed on home search sites and can help you avoid out-of-date listings that might be showing up as available online but are no longer on the market. 
  5. Negotiation knowledge
    There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. A REALTOR® will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows enough time for you to complete inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. 
  6. Representing your interests
    By law, a designated seller’s agent must “promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity” and must “protect the seller’s confidences…” A smart seller will hire a good seller’s agent to work for them in this fashion – As they should. Simply put, the seller’s agent is only looking out for the seller. Understanding this, it is important to realize that what you say to a seller’s agent may compromise your ability to negotiate the best deal for you. If, for example, during an open house, you casually mention to the seller’s agent that your family must be relocated by the end of the month to accommodate the start of a new job, the seller’s agent, by law, must “promote the interests of the seller” by letting the seller know about your situation. As a result, the seller is now aware that you are somewhat desperate and must move quickly, thus compromising your ability to negotiate the best deal. 
  7. Your rock during emotional moments
    A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most people, property represents the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com

Reasons to Buy a House or Condo for your college student

Investing in real estate is always a good idea. Why not start with your college student’s housing needs for an investment while at Ole Miss?

Most upper-level students do not have on-campus housing available to them at the university since it is secured mainly for freshman and Greek organizations. Finding an apartment, condo or house to rent off campus is not always easy, especially when your student doesn’t have particular friends to move in with.

Off-campus housing will assign you to a unit in their complex and you meet your apartment-mates usually a week before school starts. While these student-housing facilities do try to match students with people of similar study habits, noise level sensitivities, and interests, it does not always work out. When the year is over, your student is back to looking for another place to live.  How many times do you really want to move?

Did you know if a student moves out of one apartment complex and into another for the next school year, move-out date is always July 31st by noon and move-in date is always the week before school starts. If you choose to rent, reserve a storage unit now for next July-August and find a place for your child to stay during those 3 weeks. Storage units, hotel rooms and moving trucks/trailers are hard to find during that time and once reserved, are subject to cancellation without you being told.

Off-campus rental rates are competitive with on-campus dorm rates but get expensive depending on the facility. A single-bedroom unit will cost much more than a 4-bedroom apartment.  Many off-campus housing facilities offer amenities your child may not need or use, but these are built into the rental price.

Before deciding to pay rent to someone else, consider purchasing a house or condo for your child while they are at college. Here are some benefits to purchasing:

  1. Rather than pay rent (which pays someone else’s mortgage) pay down a mortgage loan on the house or condo that your child can live in for the duration of their college experience.
  2. When your child graduates, you can sell the condo. You’ll most likely recoup your monthly payments, over the 3-4 years you own it, with the sale price. (You cannot recoup rent payments made to someone else.)
  3. If you have other children who might attend, you already have housing waiting for them.
  4. If your student wants a roommate, rent out one of the extra bedrooms for income. Use it toward the mortgage or as living expenses for your child. You stay in control.
  5. A condo purchase will give you a tax break on mortgage interest each year.
  6. Your child can live away from the hustle and bustle of the off-campus student apartments. While some students want the excitement, many others would rather enjoy the quiet for studying and decompressing after a tough school day.
  7. Choose a condo size wisely. Multiple bedrooms offer you a place to stay when you visit.  Ole Miss and the City of Oxford have many events throughout the year you may want to attend. These include: Music, Theatre and Art department events and performances, Homecoming, Parent’s weekends, sports games and tailgating, Double Decker Arts Festival and, of course, graduation. While there are hotels and short-term rentals available, why bother with the added expense or the chance of not finding a room. Rates are high for special event’s weekends and can book months, if not the year, before.
  8. Condos have assigned parking and usually one spot per bedroom in each unit. So a 3-bedroom condo will have 3 parking spots. And don’t worry about special events weekends; most have security guards to keep out non-guests so your parking spot is assured.
  9. Most condos are on the public bus route in Oxford so your child can leave their car at home. Commuter parking passes on campus are reasonably priced if using their car is a must.
  10. Condos have restrictive association rules so you know the other residents/owners will guard their vested interest and make the community a safe and respected place to live.

Oxford, MS is a rural community and you may qualify for a variety of mortgage loans not available in larger cities. Consult a mortgage banker in Oxford for more information. Meet with your financial planner to find out if purchasing a condo is a wise choice based on your current financial situation. And, talk to a real estate attorney or title company about pros and cons of putting your student’s name on both the deed and the mortgage. When you’ve decided to hunt for a condo or house for your student to live in, call me to show you what is available.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com
This article was written by me and previously published on Parents of Ole Miss website

A Realtor’s Gardening Project

The Tommy Morgan Realtors Oxford branch office has a vegetable garden.

The branch broker, Sean Hettinger, is the mastermind behind the healthy food activity.

He told me that in Ohio, where he moved here from, a woman in town had planted vegetables along the curb in front of her house when a tree was taken down. The spot was left bare and open, so why not put something useful there?

She grew vegetables and anyone was welcome to take what was ripe.

Back to the TM office, Sean has a view of the parking lot from his desk, and there is a little strip of dirt and weeds across the parking lot between the curb and the retaining wall that holds the parking lot up on the hill. He decided to get rid of the ugly weeds and put something more visually pleasing there. So that is how vegetables and sunflowers began popping up each year in that little strip of dirt.

There isn’t much there right now; just a few remaining late-season brussels sprout plants but he is surely planning the summer garden.

Sean is also our TM branch office resident chef, concocting healthy and creative breakfast meals for our weekly sales meetings. In the summer, though, we can feast on what ever is growing in the garden, so a salad gets added to the breakfast.

Not only do the agents in the branch office benefit from his generous gardening but he lets others in the office park take vegetables home.

I usually break off a couple of the small tomato varieties to snack on, but I’ve taken some squash home, too.

Do you have a small sunny spot at your office or near your home? Plant a garden to share with neighbors, friends and co-workers. Everyone benefits. Enjoy!

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Early garden view

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Midsummer garden view 1
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Midsummer garden view 2
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Sunflowers
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Tomatoes
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Late summer
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Late summer
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2020 winter: what’s left of the brussels sprouts
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com

 

Social Distancing Activities in Oxford MS

Here’s an update to my 100 Things To Do In Oxford, MS, that I publish 4 times each year.

Since social distancing is a thing many people are practicing right now, I thought I’d distance my list of outside activities from those that may put you into a crowd. Activities like baseball games, going to the library and taking a class in person have been canceled for now but viewing outdoor art, reading a book on the Grove or taking a walking tour of Oxford are still available. And as of this writing there are still some events to look forward to on the list.

Check out this list and if you have any ideas I’ve missed please share them for my readers.

Things to do in Oxford MS Spring SDEdition

 

 

What Does MLK, Jr. Have To Do With Real Estate?

The following was from a free swipe file offered by Mike to subscribers of Lighter Side of Real Estate e-letter. He wrote it and I’m passing it along for you to read, this time as a letter to you from me. Thanks for the freedom to swipe it, Mike. Happy MLK Day.

So what does Martin Luther King, Jr. have to do with real estate?

“I have a _________…

I’m about 100% sure I can guess what word you chose.

Was it “dream”?

Good chance it was. We all know this line from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech. So when we hear those first three words, it sort of naturally comes to mind.

But what many people aren’t aware of is how much he affected the lives of real estate agents, buyers, and sellers.

It was his death that gave Congress the last push needed to pass the Fair Housing Act, back in 1968. It’s pretty involved, so I won’t get into it all here, but to put it simply…

Equal Housing Logo

This was put in place to ban racial discrimination in housing. You can’t be refused the rental or purchase of a house, based upon your race.

Seems simple enough to most people now. A given, if you will. But it didn’t happen overnight. And believe it or not, it still can and does come up.

But guess who’s a big part of making sure this Act is followed…

On the front lines, it is people like me. Real estate agents. We’re tasked with making people aware that discrimination based upon race (and many other things) are not acceptable, and we must refuse to work with anyone who wants to do so.

And I am proud to be a part of this ongoing history.

Just figured I’d take this appropriate moment to pay him some respect, and to give you some insight into how much more responsibility a real estate agent has than meets the eye.

That’s all for now…

…and may your dreams come true.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com

 

Reasons People Sell Their Homes

People have many reasons for selling the home or investment property that they own. Often, buyers or other agents will ask, “why are the homeowners selling?” Unless the sellers want people to know their reason, this is confidential information.

Sometimes this question can be interpreted as “what’s wrong with the house?” Generally, if there are any issues with the house or land, it will be stated on the property disclosure statement. This disclosure answers all the questions the particular state’s laws require to be disclosed including (but not limited to), any past water damage, structural damage from natural disasters or termites, mold, lead paint, and age of roof and appliances. Many states do not require disclosure of rumored hauntings or previous death, but some do.

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If a buyer really needs to know these non-disclosure issues, they can research it themselves. Crime reports are available online or by calling the local police department. Paranormal activity and previous death in the house can be found in old newspapers or by other means of research.  Other non-disclosed items can be personal issues, for example, a dispute with a neighbor that makes it uncomfortable for the seller to stay in that neighborhood. The property might be near a commercial development and the seller no longer wants to deal with the heavy traffic it brings. A buyer might want it for the convenience.

If the planned development hasn’t started yet, you should know all you can about the plans. Ask your agent for information available about approved future plans that might affect your purchase.a-buy-me-a-coffee-987096_1920

Frankly, there are so many reasons to sell property that, unless it’s a required disclosed issue, it really shouldn’t be a concern to anyone. Often, the reason is a confidential one and it is their real estate agent’s job to sell the house, not gossip about the seller and their problems.

Here is a small list of possible reasons a seller is selling. There are plenty more, but this should give you, as a buyer, pause for thought that it really does not matter. If the house is desirable and you feel good about it, then you have a great reason to purchase it.

  • Downsizing
  • Retiring in another town/state/country
  • Job transfer
  • Need to put kids in a different school district (maybe for sports or arts program)
  • Need a larger house
  • Neighbors entertain often and are noisy
  • Neighbor children play musical instruments the seller can hear
  • Want a property to put in a pool
  • Wants a new house/new construction
  • Wants a one-level rather than a two-level house
  • Moving to assisted living
  • Moving in with family
  • Building the dream home
  • Death
  • Inherited land the recipient does not want
  • Long-held investment, time to sell
  • Illness
  • College children graduated and no longer need the condo
  • Rental property too much trouble to maintain
  • Divorce
  • Personal dispute with neighbor
  • Wants to move to a neighborhood without HOA restrictions
  • Wants a neighborhood with deed restrictions
  • Moving to the country
  • Moving closer to town
  • Land nearby is being developed and want to be away from the higher traffic it will bring

You can probably come up with more reasons to sell and move. If you are buying a house or land, you have your own reasons for doing so.  You are about to make one of the biggest purchases of your life, focus on what is great about it and how it fits into your life. Be thankful that property is available for you.

Mark Twain once said, “By land, they aren’t making it anymore.” If the opportunity for land or for the house on the land comes along and you want it, do your due diligence and then go for it if it fits your needs.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com