College-town residents come from a variety of backgrounds and parts of the world. While these unique towns are home to full-time, year-round residents, college towns also host part-time residents who own second homes for retirement vacations or to have a place to stay for college, conference or other cultural events. There are, of course, the short-term residents as well. These are the college students whose parents bought a condo for them to live in during their studies at the college or university. The condo purchase serves many functions: student housing, a place for parents, family and friends to stay when they visit and provides an investment. An extra bedroom can be rented to another student for income. Mortgaged condos provide tax benefits and the condo or house can possibly earn equity income when market values rise.
Most condos are bought and sold on an average of a 4-year cycle. Families that choose to keep a home in the college town after their student graduates may move up to a bigger or newer property, although some choose to stay with the property they’ve owned for years.
Each spring offers a market demand for condo sales in a college town. Buyers of this type of property generally do not need to move in right away, like a single-family house would. This allows condo sellers to put their property on the market early with a closing date after the graduation date. The student can stay in the house through that time and the family has a place to stay during graduation weekend to save on hotel costs.
So, when is the best time to put the condo on the market? Buyers start looking after the first of the year for their student’s fall-semester housing needs. The season can pick up in February. Benefits of early listings include getting sold quicker and alleviating your student from having to deal with showings during exam week. Later listings may get a higher price due to perceived lack of inventory, but showings may hassle the student during exam time. Waiting until after graduation means the house is cleaned out and showings do not necessarily need appointments. However, buyers might not be as plentiful at the end of this selling season. Any way you look at it, when to sell completely up to you, the seller.
Here’s how to get your condo ready to sell.
- Professionally clean carpets. If they are very nasty and stained, replace them.
- Pack up and send home the extra stuff to eliminate clutter. You want to show how big the closets are, not how much stuff you can force into them. Remove kitchen counter appliances that aren’t used and décor that collects dust. Minimal is best for staging.
- Whether your condo is a stand-alone, a townhouse or multi-unit building, meet with your condo association to look at any exterior surfaces that condo fees cover and are in need of repair: these could be soffits, railings, paint on doors, missing screens, non-functioning lamps, broken roof shingles, fences surrounding your patio, etc. You’ve been paying condo fees so these items should be cared for. A buyer wants to know they are purchasing into an association that utilizes its fees to properly care for its properties.
- Have the HVAC unit serviced and change the filters. In my experience, this is usually an item an inspector finds issues with so unless you have an annual service contract, make sure the system is working properly.
- Look to see if the walls look fresh. If not, paint them or at least the one that looks bad. If you need to paint the entire interior, use a popular, neutral color.
- Check for leaks in any faucet and have these fixed.
- Professionally clean the interior and the windows
- Declutter patios and porches. Remove any broken chairs and tables. If you have use of a garden hose, roll it up out of the way.
- Find out if your association allows REALTOR signs. Some do not.
- Find a great real estate agent and put the house on the market
Reasons you should not sell your student condo by yourself.
- The student is inconvenienced to make time to be at the house to show it each time.
- It limits the available time for potential buyers to view it. If they cannot get in when they want, they might move on to a property they can see on their time. Most condo buyers are parents who are in town for a short time to view what is on the market with their real estate agent.
- FSBO properties are not represented by a real estate agent so legally in Mississippi, an agent needs a signed One-Time-Showing Agreement in order to enter the condo with one client. A FSBO owner would have to sign a new one for each agent that wants to show it and for each new client. Arrangements must be made to pick up a key.
- There may be several showings in one day. Your student should be spending the day in class or at the library rather than showing the house.
- It may also put your student in danger since an unrepresented buyer will know your student lives alone.
- Your student would have to let inspectors and contractors into the condo.
The most your student should worry about is keeping the condo clean until it is sold. By hiring a real estate agent your student should be a student and work toward graduation day.
For more tips and to learn my point of difference, contact me for an appointment.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | firstname.lastname@example.org | equal housing
Here’s a way to get a group of friends together and have fun outdoors: hold a scavenger hunt.
There are many things you can put on your list to check off, or find and take back to the group: business card of an attorney, a yellow cupcake, an acorn, an item in a shoe store made of wood. Tons of ideas can be found on Pinterest.
Did you know there are 43 historical markers in Lafayette County? Some are on the University of Mississippi campus while others are inside the city of Oxford. More markers exist way out in the county. Why not do a search including all of them? Benefits of an historical marker hunt include:
- having fun with friends and family
- getting to know your county’s geography
- teaching younger family members how to read a map
- learning valuable history of the area
- getting out of the house or dorm room
You can find the list here. Now go find them and read all about why that spot is important to local history.
How long will it take? Plan to spend the whole day. Start early, take photos of each one. Don’t forget that while most signs are one-sided, some have information continuing on the other side. Since many are within walking distance of each other, consider a walking tour. Stop for lunch to talk about what you’ve found. If you have a large group going in separate cars plan to meet up mid-day to share which ones you’ve located.
As with any scavenger hunt you do, be respectful of property including neighboring property and businesses. Park in designated areas. Be aware of traffic and stay safe when you approach a sign, that sits near a busy road, to get a photo.
The Blues Trail Marker, located in the city of Oxford, is one of many related to the Blues Trail around the state. Finding all of them might be a cool day trip in your region or definitely road trip for several days. Check out the map for a complete list. Plan to visit the blues museums as well.
Have fun and comment below when you’ve done your search. Be For more ideas on what to do around Oxford download the list of 100 Things To Do Oxford MS 2017 #100ThingsOxford
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 | 662-234-5344 | 662-404-0816 | Equal Housing
Field trips are not just for school children.
October is National Go On A Field Trip Month. Field trips are wonderful ways to get outside, go do something different, explore something new. Take a field trip with a friend, family member, group or some kids.
There are plenty of places in Oxford MS to go on a field trip. Here are some:
Outdoor field trips can be educational. Take a journal or art book with you. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars. This month in Oxford go to one of the many parks, tour Rowan Oak, Cedar Oaks, Historic Burns Belfry and more. Take an historic walking tour, a walking tour of haunted landmarks, or walk the tree trail. Get some exercise along the Bailey Woods hiking trail or the Whirlpool Trails.
Indoor field trips can keep you busy, too. Visit the political archives of Mississippi at the University Library. Check out the latest exhibits at the University Museum or investigate the Blues Archives on campus.
Other field trips can include participating in the open nights at the UM Observatory and the monthly art crawl through town. You can always explore history with a visit to St. Peter’s Cemetery.
There are plenty of things to do in Oxford…plenty of field trips to take around town. Pick up the list of 100 Things To Do In Oxford, MS Fall 2017 at the Visitor’s Center on the Square or download and print a copy here.
There are also plenty of day trips outside of Oxford that you can take as well. Find some ideas here.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | equal housing
Get Organized Week is here.
Do you have a stack of boxes in the garage that you don’t know what rests inside them?
Does your home office desk look like you left the windows open during a windstorm?
Is your closet so full you cannot see what’s in there? Has the cat been missing for awhile?
Now’s your chance to make an effort to organize. But I suggest you don’t attempt to organize everything…pick one part of your life and organize.
Here are some ideas.
- a family emergency binder
- a filing cabinet
- your kitchen utensil drawer
- the coat closet near your front door or mud room
- the cabinet under your kitchen sink
- your bathroom cabinets
- the shed
- the trunk of your car
- the top of your desk
- one book case
- the refrigerator
- the deep freeze in the garage
- the storage boxes stacked on the left side of your garage
- your shoe collection
If you need to organize your entire life and feel overwhelmed, try this:
- purchase a spiral bound notebook or get out a binder and some loose-leaf paper
- each page needs a heading such as, kids bathroom, attic, husbands car, business tax receipts, photo albums etc
- to avoid being overwhelmed start on page one of your spiral bound notebook and tackle that item. make a specific list of what it might entail to organize that item. If you opted for the 3-ring binder and loose-leaf pages add alphabetical divider indexes and organize your list alphabetically. This is how I do it and find that I stay on track because alphabetical organization keeps me from thinking too hard about what might be more important.
- attack the list from beginning to end doing one thing at a time. There shouldn’t be a priority since you let everything get this far out of hand, right?
- feel relief when an item is complete. Put a big X or smiley face across each page that is completed.
Take baby steps to get it done.
For more tips comment below with questions on my blog or Facebook page.
Eileen Saunders SRES, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | equal housing
Many people live in small towns where the job market just doesn’t quite fit their needs but they enjoy living there. Others have a specialty job which may require moving to a new city in order to stay in the career field of choice, especially when tele-commuting is not an option.
These people might be homeowners in the town where they went to college or grew up. The kids are in a good school system and the whole family is connected someway to the community: church, soccer, scouts, volunteer work.
But the job! A new one comes along, an hour away. What to do? Should you continue living in your current home and commute or should you move? In a large metropolitan area, commuting might be the norm but where your small town is separated from others by miles and miles of highway, moving might be necessary.
Consider a few things:
- the commute time and cost,
- the housing market,
- the school system,
- amenities of each town,
- career advancement and financial security,
- personal fulfillment.
Commute time and cost
Since the job is just an hour away it might be a great thing to consider the commute, at least temporarily. Make sure you like the job and the opportunity it provides. Sure, you’ll be away from the family 2 extra hours a day but once you get a feel for the job and the new area you can make the determination to move or stay. Be sure you have a fuel efficient car to help ease the pain of the additional gasoline cost during this time. You might find that commuting works for you and your family.
The housing market
Although the new job and your current home are just an hour apart, the housing markets could be very different. One could be robust; the other stagnant. You could find both doing well at the same time. Review the cost of living in both towns using websites that can give you accurate cost of living comparisons. Then ask for the help of a real estate professional in each town to give you a market analysis which can also help you decide if moving or staying is the best financial choice. You need to know if you stand to lose money on your current house or would benefit by selling and moving on.
With the kids in school, comparing the school systems is another important consideration. Also, do you have a high school student nearing graduation? Do you want to pull your children from their current school at this time or can you wait to move after graduation? Consider, too, that if you decide to move just over the state line and the graduating child wants to attend a college in the state you are leaving, you will lose resident status for tuition. On their own, at least in Mississippi, they need to be 22 or married (if younger) to obtain their own resident status. Otherwise they are under the parent’s resident status until a year after they become 21 as long as they are living in Mississippi. Grandparents who live in the same state as the college must take legal guardianship of the student in order to use their residency status and save tuition. There are some loopholes and other states may have different rules but be prepared in case you do choose to move across state lines.
Look into the cultural, entertainment and shopping aspects of each town. Consider dining options and grocery stores. Will the children be able to continue their sport of choice? Investigate church options. And, is the new town easy to get around?
Career Advancement, Financial Security, Personal Fulfillment
Talk about this new adventure with your spouse and children. If senior parents are living with you or provide a hand in raising the kids, they’ll need to be in the loop as well. What are the benefits of moving or staying? How will your decision to stay and commute affect career advancement and personal fulfillment. Getting your spouse and the kids on board and having them ask questions about your decision or even help you make the decision is an important family exercise. It’s important to find out how your decisions affect the family. It’s important to get their questions and feedback. Lack of communication within the family structure can cause tension which, in turn, can affect your personal fulfillment and job performance.
Sometimes, the situation is an easy no-brainer…move on. Many times, there are so many “what-ifs” that it is a hard choice to make. Should I go or should I stay? Only you and your family can make that decision, but once made, stick with it. No regrets.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | equal housing
October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month
It is truly amazing the love a dog can bring to you and your family. And a Shelter Dog is even more special because it is a homeless pet that you have rescued. I won’t go into the statistics or the horrors of a shelter life or the life of an abandoned dog. But I will help you get your house ready for your new pet.
Things You Will Need
While all dogs are so different in personality, size and demeanor, there are basics that you will need before welcoming your new dog to your home.
- Food Bowls
- Containers for dog food and treats
- Comfy bedding your dog can grow into
- Lots of chew toys
These are the bare necessities. I’m sure you can find other things to purchase for your new dog. When it comes to crates, older dogs generally do not need one unless you want one. Puppies will need one if not for a safe place away from energetic children in the house, also for a safe place while no one is home. Crates also make travel safe if you have one that can fit into your car.
Protecting Your Investment (your house) From Your New Dog
Dogs get bored. Some breeds need to chew on things. To avoid damage to your home, be sure to keep your dog busy with chew toys.
As I show houses that are for sale to clients, there have been several times recently when I’ve seen an interior door frame, door, the trim at the base of a support pillar or even the baseboard in any given room that was chewed by the seller’s dog. This is the kind of damage a bored dog can do to a house so watch your dog carefully the first year (if a puppy) or the first few months (an older dog) to avoid this type of problem. On a personal note, one of my puppies chewed the carpet off the bottom step in my house one day when we forgot to leave him gated in the kitchen. Anything can happen.
If your dog chews your house, discourage the behavior and fix the damage. Leaving it may encourage further chewing. And you may forget it’s there is the damage is partially hidden or easy to hide. If you need to sell your house, fixing old damage is necessary. It’s best to fix it quickly after it happens.
Raw hide has been controversial lately as it has been found hard to digest and can cause some health issues. If your dog’s stomach cannot digest a rawhide treat or any other “digestible” chew, you will find it thrown up on your floor which isn’t good on carpeting. Carpeting will need to be checked regularly for any pet damage from body functions, including throwing up. Carpets can hold in bacteria, too, so with a pet try to steam clean the carpets on a regular schedule. Wood floors can also damage when “accidents” are not cleaned up timely. Tile and both the new porcelain and the vinyl wood-look floors are the easiest to keep clean. So be diligent and perhaps limit your new dog’s time to certain rooms until his personal habits have been satisfactorily been trained.
The Outdoor Dog
A good fence in the back yard provides safety for your dog. It may also add some value to your house when you decide to sell it. Up-keep is important, though. A digging dog can escape under the fence. Fixing the areas correctly the first time will eliminate further compromise to the integrity of the fence and keep the backyard looking nice. Poorly maintained fencing can be a hazard to the dog. And remember the added value? Not with poor or damaged fencing! If you decide to sell the house, repairing the fence will either fall on you or the purchaser and with the added expense to the purchaser, the amount offered for your home might be lower than you expected. So stay on top of maintenance for your dog and your bottom line, should you need to sell your house.
Your New Dog
Enjoy your new shelter dog. I’m so excited for you to rescue a homeless dog and hope you have many years of enjoyment with the furrball. I’ve got my shelter dog…straight from a shelter in W. Tennessee 11 years ago. She’s been a joy.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | email@example.com Equal Housing