Category Archives: Buying a condo

Leverage These Low Interest Rates

Many people dream of their next home. Could it be a larger home for your larger family? Maybe you want a bigger house to incorporate a home office. Do you dream of a home with more land?

Others are deciding on downsizing. Retirees who no longer care to keep up a garden, or  do not want exterior maintenance are thinking of a smaller home or condo. Empty nesters might be trying to figure out their next step to a smaller space but one the kids and grand kids and visit comfortably.

Right now, we have historically low interest rates which makes it a great time buy a new home.

If you are a new homebuyer, contact your bank’s mortgage department or find a lender in your town determine what mortgage programs work for you. What kind of rate can you get and what does a rate lock mean? Decide if you have the money for a down payment. If not, learn from your mortgage professional ways to secure one. Ask about taxes and insurance that will be added to the mortgage.

Get quotes on moving expenses and storage in case you need a short-term storage unit. Many people forget this part of the cost. Determine your budget and the price range to be searching for a house.

If the numbers work out and you find that this is the time for you to make a purchase, start your homebuying searches online by looking at neighborhoods in your price range. Keep a mortgage calculator, like one offered by Realtor.com, nearby to help you figure out the costs.

Look for a real estate agent to help you.

Ask for referrals from friends and family and the mortgage lender you are working with. Most of these people in your sphere know or have worked with an agent that they would want to recommend.

Online companies that pick an agent for you are really gathering your info and selling it to local agents; the agent you pick from this pool will have to pay a fee to the referral company for your business. If you go that route, be sure to interview several that call you. Make sure you pick an agent that you feel you can trust; one that you think you’ll get along with.

Check out non-referral companies, too, like Yelp and Realtor.com to investigate agent profiles. Do a browser search for local agents and read about the ones that populate on the search page. Find agents’ business pages on Facebook and profiles on LinkedIn.

If you want specifically to purchase short-sale or REO properties, search for agents that are educated in the process. There is significantly more paperwork and you really can’t do it alone.

A good agent will suggest more properties to visit and will walk you through the homebuying process: the contracts, addendum, inspections and negotiating for repairs including termites if they are present, attorneys, making sense of appraisals, the underwriting process, closing proceedures and more.

Use the agent you picked to help you with For Sale By Owner properties, too. You’ll want a coach and advocate to take this path with you.  FSBO sellers are only interested in their well being and generally won’t be able to help you with your questions. If you call a FSBO then you’re on your own. Once they have your name, they are not going to want to pay your agent, and your agent can’t help you any further. So let your agent call the FSBO seller for you.

Enjoy your home buying adventure.

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

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.

Screenshot_20191229-104202_WordPress.jpg

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

 

If You Bought A House in 2018, File for Homestead Exemption Now

In Mississippi, homeowners who purchased a house can file for Homestead Exemption between Jan-Apr 1 of the following year. So if you bought your house last year and currently live in it, you can file and should file for this tax exemption benefit. But don’t delay; if you miss the April 1 deadline you  must wait until next January to file.

Non-exempt taxes are higher taxes. You may have city and county taxes and it makes sense to file for the exemption.

Here are the rules and what you need to file for exemption, below. Click here for a printable version. When you are ready head to your local tax office for filing homestead exemption.

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

Homestead must be filed between January 1 and April 1 to take effect. The home owner must occupy the property as a primary residence for the exemption to apply.

Filing a New Homestead

When filing a new homestead, you must have the following information:

  1. Copy of your recorded warranty deed
  2. Social security numbers of both husband & wife
  3. Purchase price of your house & land
  4. Tag numbers of all vehicles in your possession

Special Exemption

If you became 65 or were declared 100% disabled on or before January 1, you need to file for the special exemption.

  • 65 or Older
    • Know your date of birth
    • Tag numbers on all vehicles in your possession
  • 100% Disability
    • Social security awards letter stating your disability & the date you were declared disable or
    • Two detailed letters from two different doctors stating your disability and the date.
    • Tag numbers of all vehicles in your possession

Eileen Saunders, SRES, REALTOR,  Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF, 2092 Old Taylor Rd, Oxford MS 38655  662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com  Equal Housing

Oxford Home Market Trends

Here’s an overview of what’s going on in Oxford, MS housing.  Every 6 months I put together a summary of stats on condo sales and single-family-home sales for Lafayette County which includes the city of Oxford.  Since I found the numbers to be close when looking separately at Lafayette school district properties vs Oxford school district properties, I have combined the two and the report below reflects condo and SFH sales trends for Lafayette County MS.

Questions? Feel free to call or email me.

2011 to mid-2018 Oxford Condo Sales Trends BOF-12011 to mid 2018 Oxford Real Estate Sales Trends SFH LSD and OSD-1

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
All rights reserved (c) 2018