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.
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
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.
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
I moved to Oxford in the month of June several years ago. It was after schools let out, which is a great time for the rental cycle in other cities my family has lived in, but not here. Rentals in Oxford generally start August 1. June was a difficult time for us to find either a home for sale (that particular year) or a rental. We opted for a home in Taylor that had a purchase option available. We took it. It was a beautiful home we were sure we’d love for years. Since our boys opted for Ole Miss, we eventually decided to move closer to campus so we didn’t buy the house, but it was a great house that we enjoyed.
The rental market in Oxford is competitive. It opens at August 1 which means that in the spring or maybe even earlier, you should have a game plan: either stay where you are or start agressively looking. Most real estate agents cannot help you although some can and will. Most landlords choose to advertise and manage their own homes which can make them hard to find. These homes are rented through word of mouth.
There are great rental companies in town with a lot of properties available but you’ll need to make friends with these people early and let them know as soon as possible what your needs are so they can add you to the list.
Most of the rentals in town consist of 2 bedroom/2 bath situations, few are 3/3 and usually rent per bedroom. There are cottage communities all over Oxford that fit this description because of the needs of the University’s population. Only Freshman can live on campus. Greek, students with families (spouse and kids) and a few others are allowed as well but basically once you finish your freshman year, you need to find an apartment, condo or cottage for rent, or purchase something.
This leaves out the families that are moving into town for job transfers, or just a new job.
Oxford’s housing market is hot. Few rentals available to families means people have to purchase or settle for something less. Homeowners that really want to sell, know they can sell rather than rent, so there goes that rental market. I get calls frequently asking me if any of my vacant listings would rent. The answer for these propoerties is always no. The homeowners want to sell and they know they can.
Like my family’s situation when we first moved here, you don’t get a long, advanced notice about your transfer, so you can’t act leisurely and plan your move for the perfect time. And, when you don’t know the area, it is really hard to find any rentals. You can visit Oxford and drive around and you start to wonder if there is a conspiracy of property owners who keep their rentals through word of mouth only. Sure this would keep the homeowner from having rent to the students, if they prefer not to, but it’s also illegal due to fair housing laws. But owners find it is more cost effective to manage their own properties instead of paying fees to a real estate professional.
Truly, there are homes that rent at times other than the school schedule. However, if you are coming to town expecting to find a home to rent, please understand that, for the most part, Oxford’s rental cycle starts August 1. Plan accordingly, or consult a real estate professional for some help as soon as you know you are coming to town. If he or she cannot help, you’ll be referred to someone who can.
If you insist on doing it yourself, here are some tips. After leaving the kiddos with a sitter:
1. Get a map of neighborhoods from either the Visitor’s Center on S. Lamar or the Chamber of Commerce on West Jackson Avenue. If you are worried about areas of crime, visit the local police department and ask them about high and low crime areas.
2. Use your phone or tablet’s mapping app to scope out the lay of the land and neighborhoods on the satellite view.
3. Consult facebook pages for homes for rent or sale in Oxford and in Lafayette County; very few rentals end up in the newspaper. They’d be rented by the time the paper was printed.
4. Call the local rental management companies. Call a real estate agency; Tommy Morgan Realtors in Oxford has a few agents that manage rental properties. I can certainly help you.
5. Consider an apartment for a temporary home. Get your family settled somewhere before all of the options are gone. There are plenty of storage units available for your extra stuff. I suggest looking outside of Oxford for storage solutions because they tend to be both available and less expensive.
6. If you’re stuck in a last-minute situation, pray first then proceed to the closest rental you can find that fits at least 50% of your needs. Like number 5, above, states: consider a temporary situation. Leases can always be broken or bought out or subleased if you find a home to purchase.
Need help finding a home in Oxford? Call me. I’m a relocation pro. My family and I have moved from state to state, renting, buying, packing, unpacking. I understand how to start over in a new town. I’m here to help.
Eileen Saunders, REALTOR(R)~Tommy Morgan Inc., REALTORS(R)~2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655~662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344~Equal Housing.
Whether you are buying or selling, you want to work with a REALTOR you can trust. You have confidential information, unique needs and personal property you want kept safe.
Interviewing a REALTOR is a great idea. Put some important questions and concerns on paper, call a few REALTORS in the area and set a time with each one to interview. Find out what they can do for you.
Not all REALTORS are the same and you will want one that you feel comfortable telling your confidential information to. You will want a REALTOR that will put you first and do what it takes to sell your home, business or land or find you something new.
Moving out of town or out of state? You may not know a REALTOR where you are moving to, but certainly know one in your current city. Ask for a referral. Brokers and agents have a network around the country and can find you a qualified and motivated REALTOR in the town you are heading. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Need a REALTOR? Contact me at 662-404-0816 or use the form below. I will tell you how hard I will work for you. I can also find you a REALTOR out of town.
Eileen P. Saunders, Realtor
Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors
2092 Old Taylor Rd., Suite 101
Oxford, MS 38655