Category Archives: Renting in Oxford

Rent vs Own

you pay for housing whether you buy or rent

Renters often are able to purchase a home but do not for several reasons.

Many feel that they can’t afford to purchase a home.

But, as a renter, what are you doing each month?  You pay for your housing. And who benefits?  Well, you do have a roof over your head, but the homeowner is really benefiting.  The homeowner is building wealth.

A smart homeowner would charge at least their monthly mortgage for the renter to pay.  So, renter, you’re paying someone’s mortgage, at least. Why not pay your own?

With each rent payment, the homeowner’s mortgage balance goes down and soon he will own the house out-right. He can sell it and make money. If he was a wise investor, he will sell his house for more than he paid for it.  But regardless, the homeowner didn’t make a mortgage payment with his own money because he had renters pay it and when he sells the house, he will make all of the money back (unless he still has a balance that he needs to pay the bank, but he’ll get the rest.)  When you, renter, move out, you’ll be lucky to get your deposit back and so you’ll basically have nothing for all of the money you paid for housing.

If  you own your house, you are paying your monthly payment and paying down your mortgage balance. When you sell your house for the same or more than what you purchased it for, you pay the bank what you owe them and you get the rest.  You’ve been paying into it, you should get something out of it.

Many don’t have enough for a down payment.

There are many mortgage programs that your mortgage banker can tell you about and she can figure out which works best for you.  Some can get you into a house with 3% down. Others can get you into a house for even less. Of course, consider you might be paying an extra percentage in interest or paying a PMI cost. PMI is Private Mortgage Insurance and you can learn about it here.

There are many apps you can use to check your credit score. There are others that tell you what your estimated payments would be for a particular property or price.

Talk to your banker about receiving gift money from a relative for  your down payment.

Mississippi and a few other states offer a First-time Home Buyer’s Savings Account. Check with your bank to get your account started and set a goal.

Many would rather have someone make repairs or pay to replace faulty appliances for them.

I hear this a lot. An old apartment or an old house will most likely have old appliances which will go out.  Who knows how the previous renter took care of the appliances also. So many renters often call their landlords for repairs.

If you purchase a new home, you have new appliances. Your home has warranties including a 1-year builder warranty in Mississippi.

Should you purchase a pre-owned home, you’ll see on the seller’s disclosure the age and condition of appliances.  If they are all old or approaching that magic year things start breaking down, you can negotiate a seller-paid home warranty for the first year you own the home.  Most service calls are under $100 for repair or replacement. If you cannot negotiate it into the purchase, warranties run around $500 per year so you can set that aside to purchase yourself.  I have one and it has paid for itself many times.

Many do not think their credit score is good enough.

You never know what you can afford or what you can qualify for until you investigate. Go see your banker or check in with a local mortgage company.  A “ding” to your credit report for mortgage purposes is not the same as a “ding” to your credit report for a new credit card or car loan. Find out now so you can plan. Or, find out now, so you can be pleasantly surprised and can start shopping for a new home.

Do Not, I repeat, Do Not make any large purchases until after you close on your new house.  An washer, a new car, a sofa charged on a credit card will change your debt-income ratio and may cause you to lose the house if you don’t still qualify for that mortgage on closing day.

The whole process of purchasing a house and all of those steps to take along the way are scary.

It is a lot of fun looking online at houses for sale in your town.  It would be a lot more fun to actually look at them in person, on a mission to purchase one. That’s why you need to get a real estate agent to help you from the start.  Once you find out your financial status, start interviewing real estate agents. Don’t settle for the first one you talk to. You are hiring someone to help you make one of the most important, emotional and stressful purchases of your life. Make sure you feel comfortable with the agent you have helping you.  The agent with a ton of sales, and therefore experience, under their belt may not have the personality you need to work with. Find one with a lot of training. Find one you can trust.

So, you pay for housing whether you buy or rent. Which would you rather do?

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

Renting in Oxford MS

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.