Category Archives: Oxford

How To Celebrate Christmas in Oxford, MS

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Getting Your Condo Ready to Sell… While Your Student Still Lives There

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.living-room-2155376_1920

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.

  1. Professionally clean carpets. If they are very nasty and stained, replace them.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Check for leaks in any faucet and have these fixed.
  7. Professionally clean the interior and the windows
  8. 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.
  9. Find out if your association allows REALTOR signs. Some do not.
  10. Find a great real estate agent and put the house on the market

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Reasons you should not sell your student condo by yourself.

  1. The student is inconvenienced to make time to be at the house to show it each time.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. It may also put your student in danger since an unrepresented buyer will know your student lives alone.
  6. 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 | eileen@tmhomes.com |   equal housing

Scavenger Hunt Idea Through Oxford, MS

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

National Go On A Field Trip Month

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

Deadline for Filing Homestead Exemption Approaching

In Lafayette County Mississippi, homeowners who purchased a house can file for Homestead Exemption between Jan-Apr 1 of the following year. So if you live in and around Oxford and 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.img_1015

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 the big white building in the center of the Oxford Square and on the first floor you will find the 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, 2092 Old Taylor Rd, Oxford MS 38655  662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com  Equal Housing

College-Town Retirement

College towns can offer a lot to retirees:

  1. Cultural & sporting events20161110_195040.jpg
  2. Life-time-learning programs
  3. Diverse nightlife
  4. Infinite dining options
  5. Exercise trails and fitness facilities
  6. Public transportation and a cab system

Those are some of the things that make Oxford, MS attractive to retirees.  Not only is the University of Mississippi in the center of town, but Northwest Mississippi Community College is just a quick bus ride across Hwy 6. Additionally, Oxford is home to a regional medical facility and several Senior’s housing options.

So, what if you are considering retirement to a college town? Will you be purchasing a house or condo to age-in-place? Will you be joining a retirement community with an assisted living facility for future use? Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Know the cost. From single family housing to condos, what will be your fixed costs: HOA or condo fees, lawn maintenance, etc. Can you afford the cost of living
  2. How close to campus and the town’s amenities can you live? Does public transportation exist in the area you are considering to live?
  3. Know restrictions: visitors, pets, cars/RVs/boats, and gardening.
  4. Investigate the true benefits of the college or university if you want to take courses: tuition waivers, limit on classes per semester, online access and accessibility to campus events.

For more information about choosing a retirement destination, Click Here

“You can count on an SRES to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home, making the transaction less stressful and more successful.”

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