Category Archives: Buying a home

Homestead Exemptions

When purchasing a house one of the main questions a buyer will ask is “how much are the taxes?”

Good question and the answer is usually included in the information provided on the listing. A seller will gather this information from their past tax bills or can call the tax office. A seller’s real estate agent can also look up the information to verify it.

But, buyer beware: the taxes listed may not be what you will pay. Here’s why: there are several different kinds of exemptions that can be filed for by the homeowner. In certain cases, there may not have been an exemption filed or the homeowner doesn’t qualify.

For no homestead exemption, the taxes are generally higher. If this is the case for the house or condo you are purchasing, once you are able to file for homestead exemption, you’ll notice a reduction in your payments and your tax bill.

A regular homestead exemption is the usual amount. If that is how the current owner filed and you are purchasing the home to be your main residence, you too will get the regular homestead exemption.

If you are 65 or older you will qualify for a discount on your taxes. This discount will show on your tax bill the year that you file for the discount. But let’s say you are not 65 and you buy a house with a 65 homestead exemption. When  you file for your exemption, your tax bill will correct itself to apply to your current situation.

If your purchase is not your main residence (if it is a rental investment, a football home, vacation home) then you will not qualify for homestead exemptions. That will be something you can file (if not already filed) in your home town for your full-time residence property.

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

 

Home Buying: 8 Possible Deal Breakers

You found your dream home, or so you think. The offer you made to the homeowner was accepted and now you have to hire an inspector to make sure it checks out A-OK.

Hopefully there won’t be any major flaws to make you think twice about your offer.  A satisfactory inspection is a contingency to the contract and if there is something major, you can ask for it to be fixed, decided to fix it yourself or walk away from the house completely.

Here are 8 possible deal breakers you should be aware of:

  1. Water Damage. With every water mark and rusty pipe, ask for an explanation.  A water ring on the ceiling the size of the toilet pipe on the floor above it could mean a constant dripping problem. OR, it could simply mean there was an overflow a few years ago and the water mark is just now showing up as a stain.  Rusty pipes, dampness by the A/C unit in the attic or hallway closet could be a bigger issue.
  2. Asbestos. This hazardous material was used in many homes that were built before July 1989.  Removal must be done by a professional and could be costly.

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    Courtesy of Creative Commons
  3. Lead paint. Lead paint was used in older homes and could be a hazard. Removal may be expensive so have a professional give you a quote on removal.
  4. Pests. Termites, roaches, rats, mice and more can cause extensive and expensive damage to a home.  Sometimes the repair can be expensive but not all of the time. Have a termite or pest control professional quote you a price to take care of the problem.
  5. Mold. Some molds can be easily remedied, but long-term invasive damage from a pipe, roof leak or irrigation can cause a bigger problem.
  6. Electrical or plumbing problems. Always have these taken care of by a professional.
  7. Foundation issues. Foundations tend to crack from settling. Some cracks are minor, some can be a major problem. Why are the cracks there? What caused them? If you really don’t feel good about the cracks, seek the advice of a foundation specialist. It will cost more than the initial inspection but the peace of mind will be worth it
  8. Old roof. A homes inspector can assess roofing issues from missing shingles, wood or structural issues. An old roof will need to be replaced and can be expensive. In addition to the inspector’s report, a roofer can assess the remaining life of the roof.

While there are a few other issues that can make you walk away, these eight are the most common, so be prepared to consider any of them.

Each of these things can be worked out if you really want the house and not all houses have more than one or two of these issues to consider. Meet with your real estate agent. Together, construct a list of things you have to have repaired and what you can live with or fix on your own. If the cost of items to fix yourself is high, renegotiate a credit at closing. Until you sign off stating the inspection contingency is clear of issues so you can move toward closing, you, the buyer, are still in the decision-making seat.

Know that the seller may think your request is too extensive. The listing and the property condition disclosure may state the issues that need repair but the owner will not be responsible for. If that is the case, you and your agent should have known this from the time you started considering the house. The seller could also state that he will only pay a particular amount on repairs. Be prepared for negotiating, but also be prepared that the seller could walk away, too, if you ask for too much.

So, do you want the house or not?

Thanks to Kaye Ladd, Broker at Tommy Morgan Realtors branch office for contributing to this article.

photo credit: Cracked Red Brick Wall via photopin (license)

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

New Real Estate Related Law

The Mississippi Legislature recently enacted a new law requiring real estate agents, licensed in the state, to have background checks and have fingerprints on file with law enforcement.law-1063249_960_720

This is great news for the home seller and is a move fully supported by the Mississippi Association of REALTORS.  Sellers can have peace of mind about who enters their house to view it. Real estate agents have always been required to take a Code of Ethics class, but now sellers are protected further by knowing their agent and those agents that bring buyers into their  houses, are law abiding citizens as well.

Starting July 1, 2016, new agents and those renewing their license (an annual event)  will have to have a state FBI background check and fingerprints taken.

If you have any questions about this, please contact me or your real estate agent for  more information.

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

Photo source: Creative Commons/pixabay.com free stock photo

What is 203K?

Want to buy a fixer-upper but don’t think you’ll have the money for the remodel after you buy the house?

Ask your mortgage professional about a 203K loan.

A 203K loan is backed by FHA and combines the price of the house and the price of construction into one loan with one closing cost. The FHA 203K loan is great for helping you pay for a remodel of your current home, too.

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This might be too far gone for a 203K but you get the picture. It’s a loan for a fixer-upper.

There are a few fixer-uppers on the market in Oxford and Lafayette County. Some might need a lot of work, some just need a little updating.  If you’d like to see any for possible purchase, please let me know…I’ll be happy to show them to you. But first, talk to your mortgage company or mortgage department in your local bank for more information and to get pre-approved.  Sellers will take offers more seriously if you have been pre-approved for a loan when you place your offer.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road Suite 101, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal housing

photo credit: Broken House via photopin (license)

Trending Real Estate in Oxford, MS

Housing in Oxford, MS is going fast these days. There is little inventory and although there are some days that it seems a good number of listings are appearing on the Multiple-Listing Service (MLS), these properties are not lasting long. Buyers are waiting on the sidelines for particular subdivisions or price points.  Contracts are coming in quickly and although these home sales are pending, it is not reflected on internet sites.  You may think a house is still on the market when, in fact, the MLS has it coded as “Pending.” For this reason, if you are a buyer get pre-qualified for a loan so you are ready for that newly listed house you want. And contact your REALTOR so he or she can watch out for new listings and get you an immediate appointment.

So for any homeowners wondering what time of year is best to sell your house or condo in Oxford, MS, I would say: now.  In fact, with the housing shortage across the country, there is no time like the present to sell your house. There is a buyer just around the corner.

But typically, there are “selling seasons” where houses seem to sell quicker and for a higher price per square foot (PPSF) than during other times of the year.  These selling seasons are January to June and July to December. I’ve put together an historical graph of both single-family and condo/townhouse sales in Oxford to show how the past selling seasons have done.  Based on the PPSF, these selling statistics are not adjusted for the low housing inventory. Source of information: N C M Board of Realtors MLS. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

For more information about buying or selling download one of these informative guides:

SellingYourHouseSummer2016

BuyingaHomeSummer2016

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

Real Estate Trends in Oxford, MS

Updated version of previous article: “Five-Year Housing Trend Oxford MS”

Buyers and sellers want to know how the real estate market is going.

“Is it a good time to make a purchase in Oxford, MS? What should I buy, a condo or a single-family home?”

“I’m ready to down-size. Is now the time to do so?”IMG_0759

While I cannot advise you definitely either way, I can make that decision easier for you. My latest reports are complete and ready for you to read.

Oxford Mississippi Real Estate 5-Year Trend in Sales for 2011-2015 highlights the single-family home market.  It shows the average selling price for single-family homes has risen by approximately $83,000.00 and the average price per square foot is up around 33%.

The 2011-2015 Oxford Mississippi 5-Year Trend in Condo Sales report also shows us some exciting news. The demand for condos has risen greatly. The average number of days on the market has dropped by 105 days meaning these properties, both brand new and pre-owned, are getting snatched up quickly.  Days on Market (DOM) basically means the number of days from listing to close, even if the property obtained an accepted offer the second day.  Real estate is not taken off the market until the closing date, so this average includes cash deals, which close generally fast, and contracts with financing. Closings are currently taking up to 45 days since the new laws were enacted last year.  Still, the demand for condominium properties is high. This can be attributed to the growth of enrollment at the University of Mississippi and lack of on-campus housing for upper classmen who move off campus to apartments and parent-owned condos in their Sophomore year.  This trend can also be attributed to the Ole Miss football team doing well which seems to entice alumni families to invest in a second home property here in Oxford.  No one knows for sure, but the statistics show a steady increase in prices and decrease in DOM.

Oxford has seen an uptick in new homes: both condos and single-family. Neighborhoods like Oxford Commons, Northpointe, Southpoint have added many new homes to our landscape. Condo communities such as Brighton Village, Musicians Quarters, 800 College Hill have given Oxford more condo options. And, the new Oxford Farms community is currently being developed for both condo and single-family living. Several rental/apartment communities have also been added to Oxford recently.

Ultimately, it is your decision to buy or to sell.  If the decision is a matter of investment strategy, consult your investment professional first for some sound advice about your portfolio. Then if you want to make a move involving real estate, hire a real estate professional to help you out.  If you simply want to downsize, a real estate professional can help you find the best new place to call “HOME” and help you sell your current house.

Download your copy of these reports here:

2011-2015 Oxford Real Estate Sales Trends

2011-2015 Oxford Condo Sales Trends

Information Herein Deemed Reliable but Not Guaranteed

What Do Bunnies Have To Do With Real Estate

The Oxford Mississippi housing market is hot right now.

Buyers consist of first-time homebuyers, parents purchasing condos for their college students housing needs, and Ole Miss football fans who want a place to stay in the fall during the games. There are also families that just want a bigger home, rental property investors, homeowners who want to downsize, and workers relocating to the area for a new job.

Between 2013 and 2014, Oxford and Lafayette County was ranked the 15th fastest growing “micropolitan” area in the U.S., by the Census Bureau. And it is the fastest growing part of the state of Mississippi.Peeps bunnies cropped.jpg

So many people are moving here or want to buy a place to stay when they visit. But we have a shortage of homes available leaving buyers scrambling to purchase what they can and what they need.  With this comes even higher prices for housing (law of suppy and demand). I often hear renters and first-time buyers complain about the cost of housing. “There is no affordable housing in Oxford,” they say.  Well, there is, but it gets snatched up so quickly when it comes on the market leaving wannabe first-time homebuyers scratching their heads.

My suggestion for those that want to purchase a home in Oxford is to be prepared: get your finances in order, have a plan, get a pre-qualification from your bank so you know how much you can borrow and in what price range you can search. Once you are on top of the money process, find a real estate agent to help you.  Start a relationship with a local agent who will then know what you want, how much you can spend and how quickly you can jump on making an offer.  In this market, if you take your time searching the internet and then have to find an agent to get the ball rolling, you might miss the opportunity.

So what do bunnies have to do with real estate?  They represent homebuyers hopping on housing opportunities as fast as they can. Be a bunny!

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

2015 Tommy Morgan Realtors Top Producer

2015 Tommy Morgan Realtors Multi-Million Dollar Producer