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.

100 Things To Do Oxford, MS Fall 2108

It’s here: Fall season in Oxford.

Football, pumpkins, arts performances and more.

Here’s my newest issue of “100 Things To Do Oxford, MS Fall 2018.”

Print it out and share with friends.  Can you do all 100?  Be sure to take a picture of yourself on location with each thing you check off this list, post it to Instagram with  #100thingsoxford

100 ThingsTo Do InOxford, MSFall 2018 update pg 1100 ThingsTo Do InOxford, MSFall 2018 pg 2

Eileen Saunders, SRES  REALTOR with Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com Equal housing
100 Things To Do Oxford, MS is a publication of OxfordMSLife.com  All rights reserved (c) 2018
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Trendy Barn Doors

The home flipping shows on television have featured trendy new doors as part of this year’s must-have, home-design focal point.

No longer do you need to put in a swinging door that latches and locks. These old-school doors can take up valuable space in a closet, bathroom, laundry room or pantry. They can get in the way of space for furniture or built-ins.

Now all you need is enough space to put sliders and you can mount a barn door to cover that doorway when you need it closed, and slide it back to open. It’s kind of like a pocket door on the outside of the wall. I’ve seen these doors used on remodeling shows for bathrooms, kitchens, offices and mudrooms.

While they are beautiful and tie in a modern farmhouse interior, they can present some problems. Let me explain:

I recently stayed in a hotel that used this type of door inside the room. Push it to one side and the bathroom door was closed. Push it to the other side and the closet door was closed. No way was I able to lock the bathroom door. I didn’t need to but if I had my family with me, including kids, it might have been necessary for any of us to have the door set up to lock for privacy. So that’s one problem. Depending on where you are using this door, you might not be able to have the locked, privacy on the other side of that door.

Another issue is that is takes up valuable wall space. Sure a sliding barn door eliminates the space required to swing open/shut a door, but depending on the room you will put it in, you will not be able to use the wall that the door slides in front of when the door is open. It eliminates using that wall as a space for electrical plugs and switches. You cannot have plugs if a door is sliding in front of them.  There would be no practical use for the plugs and you would eliminate a wired wall.

I also eliminates a wall to hang art.  To hang art, the sliding door would need to be set far enough from the wall that it doesn’t crash into or rub against the hanging piece or the frame around the art. You can’t use that wall for bookcase space. Any furniture in that area needs to sit out from the wall so the door can slide behind it. If the sliding door is to hide a room from view, or to keep any space mostly closed off, keep this thought in mind…you really won’t be able to do anything with that wall because eventually the door has to open.

Additionally, the sliding action on these trendy barn-style doors needs stoppers. They, of course, have stoppers but what I’m talking about are gradual stoppers. Have you seen the kitchen drawers that you can’t slam shut? They close to a point, then slowly close themselves? That’s what I mean by stopper. I haven’t found one that has gradual stopping action unless they are heavier to pull from side to side. The door in the hotel I stayed in had a smooth glide. Because it was close to the wall, when pushed in either direction, it went fast. There were no door knobs to physically grab to stop the door although you can put them on the outside of the door. Closing the door behind me while I went inside the bathroom, the door nearly pinched my fingers as it came to the bumper at the end of the track that stopped it. I’m an adult and almost pinched my fingers; I quickly noted that a child’s fingers could easily be injured or worse. So be aware of this if you install an interior barn door.

But, using the sliding door to cover two, side-by-side doorways (like the closet and the bathroom door) is what gave me the most pause and wish to caution anyone using or considering to use these doors for this purpose. (I actually saw this same design on a TV remodeling show. The door covered to side-by-side doorways.) As my husband and I were leaving the room, I reached into the closet to retrieve hanging clothes that we almost forgot to pack. Without knowing it, my husbands luggage brushed the sliding door and it quickly swung to cover the closet door and my arm got stuck between the door frame and the sliding door. After a long period of intense pain, I found my arm wasn’t broken but several weeks later, still badly bruised.

Here is a solution I like: If you don’t like a standard sized door in a particular entry, consider solid french doors. I have them throughout my house: bedroom doors, closets and the pantry. They take up less space when open and look beautiful. 20180812_2129451773072161.jpgIn this photo, you can see where a barn door would take up too much space on the small remaining wall; both a pocket and barn door would eliminate electrical plugs and switches since you cannot put plugs into to same space a pocket door needs. (The hallway french doors in the photo lead to a closet.)

When building, remodeling, and designing, consider all aspects of features you want in your house. Counter height, tile design, bathroom configuration and doors. No design feature is perfect for everyone, but take the time to think about how they will work both for and against your living space, people living in the house and your lifestyle. Find out all of the features for each brand and design. Ask a lot of questions and try things out in the showroom when possible.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com Equal housing
Photos used are property of Eileen Saunders. All rights reserved. (c) 2018

How Do You Know A House Is Right For You?

House hunting can be an exhausting chore.  It is exhausting because there might be so many houses to choose from and you need to take the time to see them all and make the best decision. It is a chore because, if you have to move, it is a necessary task.

I have moved 10 times in 23 years so I know how tough it is. Sometimes my husband and I have rented, sometimes we have purchased a home. Each time, no matter what we chose to do, it was an exhausting chore.

So, how do you know when you have found the right house? How do you know when a house is right for you?

I can simply say, “You’ll know when it’s the right house.” But what does that mean?

checklist-1316848_1280I recommend you make a checklist of what is important. Each time you view a house, check off those things that it hits on your list. If you can check off a majority of them, you’ve basically found a house that meets all of your expectations. But, if it still might not feel right, consider why. Are the bedrooms in a conventional design? Is there enough room to grow? Are the ceilings too high or too low? Does the layout flow or is there something stopping that flow?  Is it move-in ready or do you have to remodel? With a checklist you can visually see which houses most fit your needs. Make notes about how you felt in the house. Was there something strange about it? Was there a happy feeling? Was there an odor? Can you raise children there? Is there room for a home office? What about a pet? Is there sufficient entertainment space? Can you add on to the house?

I hate to say it, but some people are lifetime house hunters; they will  never find the perfect house.  But you don’t have to find the perfect house; you have to find something you are comfortable in.

You will know when you find the right house. It won’t be perfect. Only you can make it perfect once you move in. So keep an open mind when house hunting.

You will know when you find the right house.

Eileen Saunders, SRES  Realtor(c) with Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com Equal housing

Football Weekend Rental Income

*Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional. I am a real estate professional. This article is to inform the reader about an IRS tax form that they may want to read if  considering renting their property during college football season in Oxford, MS.  When making decisions that can affect your taxes, always consult a tax professional.

Many Oxford homeowners rent their homes or condos during Ole Miss football weekends. Some live here year-round and stay with local relatives or camp out in the family RV on football weekends in order to make some extra money by renting their home in the fall.  I know of families making $1000+ depending on who the Rebels are playing that weekend.

Others have a second house or condo here and visit for some games, renting their place out during games they can’t get here for.

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Each of these homeowners that rent out their homes for a weekend earn Christmas money, vacation money, pay-the-mortgage money, what-ever-you-want-it-to-be-for money.  The point is that many Oxford homeowners rent their homes short-term.

There are HOAs that don’t allow this practice, so if you live here or plan to buy a house or condo in the near future, check your HOA rules before advertising your home in the fall. But for those who can rent, it can be extra money.

Consider the cost, though, for advertising, cleaning, and staying somewhere else that weekend when you price your rental weekend.  Do you have family in town you can stay with? Do you have an RV you can camp out in while strangers rent your house?  Are you planning to be away that weekend anyway?

Check with local rental companies that specialize in this type of rental.  Ask friends who rent and get their list of pros and cons. Consider the number of new hotel rooms in town.

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Football isn’t the only weekend for rentals. There other Ole Miss sport events, local conferences and festivals that also bring in tourists wishing to rent a house, rather than a hotel room, for the week or weekend. Graduation is a popular time for week-long rentals as student’s family members pile into town to celebrate.  Oxford is also a wonderful wedding town with so many classy venues.  Guests and family members might rather stay in a house than a hotel as they prepare with pre-wedding festivities.

Real estate can be an investment so don’t just consider whether to buy a second home in Oxford based on your ability to rent short-term.  The real value is in the equity you might be able to grow through the years of ownership, and the enjoyment you will have when you use it to visit this great little town.

If you are wondering about how renting your home affects your income taxes, click this link to the IRS form (topic 415) explaining short-term rental income.  It talks about the deductions you might be able to take and the taxes you could pay with a rental property. But it also reads: “There is a special rule if you use a dwelling unit as a personal residence and rent it for fewer than 15 days.” Read up on what this special rule says for your situation.

With only 7 home football games you may not have to worry about keeping track of or reporting your rent income. Laws change year to year and while this one is current as of this writing, it may change tomorrow. Please read carefully and always consult your tax professional for advice before making plans to rent your home.

 

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR, SRES, Tommy Morgan Realtors,  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655~662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344~Equal Housing

 

Your Home’s Value

I am a homeowner in Mississippi which is a non-disclosure state.  That means that what I paid for my house is not public information.  It is information that is on the MLS Board where my home is located and can be used for comp purposes by other agents in the MLS Board but otherwise, Mississippi law says it is no one’s business what I paid for my house.

So I recently got a letter from my mortgage company which is not located in Mississippi.  It told me how much equity I have in my house based on my loan balance and a value of the house.  The letter said that the value is an estimate “based on market trends” in my area.  Since they do not have access to information in this non-disclosure state, the value of the house is much lower than what I paid for it.  It’s because they really don’t know the value of my house.  As I read closer, I realized the value was the original loan balance.

I’m a licensed real estate agent in my MLS Board and know the market trends and have available the comps to tell me the value of my house.  BUT, if I wasn’t, this letter would have scared me to death making be believe my house was losing value.toy-37512_960_720

My point is, if you live in a non-disclosure state, like Mississippi, and get a letter from your mortgage company telling you the value of your house, question it.  Calmly call your agent and get a comp analysis. It’s not a bonafide appraisal but close to it; it’s a market value, and in this hot, hot market you’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised.

If you live in the Oxford/Water Valley/Batesville/Pontotoc area and want a free comp analysis, contact me for an appointment.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR, Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655   662-404-0816 / 662-234-5344 equal housing

Storage tips for a small home

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

What Buyers Need to Know in a Seller’s Market

A seller’s market exists when there are more buyers and less inventory. We definitely have this going on around Oxford, MS as well as the rest of the country. 

Buyers, therefore, need to be ready on the mark so they don’t miss out.  Before looking for a new home, be prepared to actually buy.  Here’s how: 

  1. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage and have your paperwork handy. In fact, give it to your real estate agent. If you happen to decide to place an offer on a house and logistics require e-signatures, your agent will already have the pre-qualification  letter on hand to submit with the offer. If you are paying cash, have a letter from your bank ready with proof of funds available. 
  2. Hire a real estate agent. These professionals will see immediately when new listings are available and can get you a video preview (if you are out of town and can buy sight-unseen) or, can get you an immediate appointment to view the house.   
  3. Be available when your real estate agent calls. Lingering over your schedule may cost you an opportunity. 
  4. When you make an offer, limit your contingencies.  Asking the buyer to wait for you to sell your house in a seller’s market may be unreasonable. They’ll sell it to the next person in line.  
  5. Don’t wait. Even a house that may have a history of sitting on the market can be sold overnight in a seller’s market. There are plenty of reasons that house hadn’t sold quicker, such as financing falling through from a previous offer or damage repairs taking place from a storm.  Don’t think that it will be there next week for you to decide on. 
  6. Compromising on what you want isn’t a bad thing.  You might have to look outside of your perfect location or go after a home that needs a little TLC. 

 

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Merio/Pixabay

If you are shopping in Oxford, prepare for sticker shock. Our home values tend to run a bit higher than the rest of the state. Keep in mind that chances are great that you will not find a 3 bedroom/2 bath “near The Square” for $250,000 or less. Talk to your real estate agent about the various neighborhoods that are in your budget and how far from The Square these are located.  You might find a gem in your price range with easy access to football games, restaurants and shopping.  I know of at least one condo association that runs game-day shuttles and the OUT bus (Oxford-University Transit) is also available regularly to help students and year-round residents get where they need to go. 

So, ARE YOU READY to house-hunt? 

Eileen Saunders, Realtor® with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655. 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal Housing 

Information Sourced from “Surviving a Seller’s Market: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet,” realtor.com® (April 7, 2016)