Category Archives: Selling your house

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Moving for a New Job

Many people live in small towns where the job market just doesn’t quite fit their needs but they enjoy living there.  Others have a specialty job which may require moving to a new city in order to stay in the career field of choice, especially when tele-commuting is not an option.

These people might be homeowners in the town where they went to college or grew up. The kids are in a good school system and the whole family is connected someway to the community: church, soccer, scouts, volunteer work.

But the job!  A new one comes along, an hour away. What to do? Should you continue living in your current home and commute or should you move? In a large metropolitan area, commuting might be the norm but where your small town is separated from others by miles and miles of highway, moving might be necessary.commute to work

Consider a few things:

  1. the commute time and cost,
  2. the housing market,
  3. the school system,
  4. amenities of each town,
  5. career advancement and financial security,
  6. personal fulfillment.

Commute time and cost

Since the job is just an hour away it might be a great thing to consider the commute, at least temporarily. Make sure you like the job and the opportunity it provides. Sure, you’ll be away from the family 2 extra hours a day but once you get a feel for the job and the new area you can make the determination to move or stay. Be sure you have a fuel efficient car to help ease the pain of the additional gasoline cost during this time. You might find that commuting works for you and your family.

The housing market

Although the new job and your current home are just an hour apart, the housing markets could be very different. One could be robust; the other stagnant. You could find both doing well at the same time.  Review the cost of living in both towns using websites that can give you accurate cost of living comparisons.  Then ask for the help of a real estate professional in each town to give you a market analysis which can also help you decide if moving or staying is the best financial choice.  You need to know if you stand to lose money on your current house or would benefit by selling and moving on.

School system

With the kids in school, comparing the school systems is another important consideration. Also, do you have a high school student nearing graduation? Do you want to pull your children from their current school at this time or can you wait to move after graduation? Consider, too, that if you decide to move just over the state line and the graduating child wants to attend a college in the state you are leaving, you will lose resident status for tuition. On their own, at least in Mississippi, they need to be 22 or married (if younger) to obtain their own resident status. Otherwise they are under the parent’s resident status until a year after they become 21 as long as they are living in Mississippi. Grandparents who live in the same state as the college must take legal guardianship of the student in order to use their residency status and save tuition. There are some loopholes and other states may have different rules but be prepared in case you do choose to move across state lines.

Amenities

Look into the cultural, entertainment and shopping aspects of each town. Consider dining options and grocery stores. Will the children be able to continue their sport of choice? Investigate church options. And, is the new town easy to get around?

Career Advancement, Financial Security, Personal Fulfillment

Talk about this new adventure with your spouse and children. If senior parents are living with you or provide a hand in raising the kids, they’ll need to be in the loop as well. What are the benefits of moving or staying? How will your decision to stay and commute affect career advancement and personal fulfillment.  Getting your spouse and the kids on board and having them ask questions about your decision or even help you make the decision is an important family exercise.  It’s important to find out how your decisions affect the family. It’s important to get their questions and feedback. Lack of communication within the family structure can cause tension which, in turn, can affect your personal fulfillment and job performance.

Sometimes, the situation is an easy no-brainer…move on. Many times, there are so many “what-ifs” that it is a hard choice to make. Should I go or should I stay?  Only you and your family can make that decision, but once made, stick with it. No regrets.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | equal housing

 

 

 

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Seller’s Market Stats

It is a seller’s market in Oxford, MS.

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That means there are fewer homes than buyers, even during this typically slower time of year, so higher demand can mean higher prices. In some cases buyers are scrambling and often competing for the same house which means the seller gets the price they want. There are exceptions based on a house that is definitely overpriced in its neighborhood. Mostly, and unfortunately, this overpricing is done by the for-sale-by-owner crowd because these sellers don’t have the advantage of a professional’s pricing strategy. But once in a while the overpricing is done by the buyer who doesn’t quite trust his or her agent. Consequently the house sits for a while waiting to be sold. Since Mississippi is a non-disclosure state, selling prices are kept as private information. Popular on line, national real estate websites do not have this information. The local Oxford real estate professional does have that information and the statistics to help their sellers price homes appropriately.

For the seller, even if you know the overall uptick of housing sales prices for the general area, the individual neighborhoods may have their own statistics. A popular neighborhood may increase in sales value quicker than an older, stable neighborhood. Homes that need extensive interior updating (new kitchen, bath) may find themselves accepting a lower price than their neighboring homes which are updated. Your real estate professional can guide you through that process.

Oxford sees housing price upticks differently in each housing category: condos, single-family homes, land and commercial. Condos might be super popular at a particular time of year; single-family homes might show their uptick during another time.  And land seems to be at a premium at any time.

The following chart shows a sample of the uptick in housing for just the years 2015-2016 in the entire Lafayette County area but it is not the whole story. This includes houses in both the county school district and Oxford school district and does not include condos. Twenty-sixteen was an interesting year in real estate and the stats for 2017 aren’t in yet. So please don’t think you can sell your house at 14% higher than you purchased it just by looking this chart. You really need the whole story which could be a 5-year trend analysis by school district or by housing type or, in some cases, simply a neighbor comparative analysis for the past 6-12 months. If you are interested in condos, this chart doesn’t apply. So reach out to your real estate professional that you trust, or me if you don’t have one, for more information so you can price your home appropriately before trying to sell it.  There can be nothing worse than having your house sit for a while on the market and then have a price reduction. Buyers may wonder what’s wrong with it.

 

Year Average List Price Average Selling Price Average Sold/List Percentage Average Price Per Square Foot Average Number of Days on the Market
2015 $255,827 $249,495 97.57% $115.89 139
2016 $292,129 $283,624 97.71% $121.49 139

 Oxford, Mississippi, Real Estate Trend in Single-Family Home Sales

Source: North Central Mississippi Board of Realtors® MLS

Includes single-family homes exclusive to Lafayette County and both Lafayette and Oxford School Districts

© 2017 Market Trends in Oxford MS   All Rights Reserved

Information Herein Deemed Reliable but Not Guaranteed

If your property is currently listed with another real estate broker, please disregard this notice.  It is not our intention to solicit the listings of other brokers.

Eileen Saunders, SRES(c) REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors  2092 Old Taylor Road  Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com  Equal Housing

Home Sellers’ & Home Buyers’ Guides Are Now Available

buyingahomewinter2017-coversellingyourhousewinter2017-coverFour times a year I have a new and current Home Seller’s Guide and Home Buyer’s Guide available free. They’re here; just click the picture for a downloadable version.

Now is a great time for both Buyers and Sellers and here’s why:

Buyers

Interest rates are still relatively low. The rates are projected to go up and are higher than they were this time last year so now is the time to lock in a rate you can be happy with.  Still, rates are a lot lower than they have been in the past and have been the lowest since 1971. Before you start looking, meet with your banker or mortgage company to get pre-qualified for a loan. Then you will know exactly how much you can afford and you won’t be wasting your time or spinning your wheels in the wrong price range. You may be surprised at how much you can afford. Then, call your REALTOR and start looking. I would love to be your REALTOR so check out my profile online and on Facebook.

Sellers

Why Wait???? Typically, inventory builds in March and if you wait until then you’ll have a lot more competition. Right now we have both an inventory shortage and a sudden uptick of buyers in Oxford and surrounding areas. The political season is over, the Dow is at a record high and there is market confidence. Wouldn’t it be great to get it sold quicker?  Make sure your house and yard are in great condition because curb appeal sells and so does a house that is move-in-ready. It is proven that sellers who utilize real estate professionals get their houses sold faster and for more money.. If this is something you want, schedule an appointment with me for more information.

I hope these guides can help you. Enjoy! And, best wishes.

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

Tips for Moving After the Elections 2016

 

Have you heard?

Millions and millions of Americans are planning to move after the up-coming election. This news is all over the internet: Facebook, Twitter, blogs. And, if it’s on the internet it must be true.

I’ve read that some people will move overseas. Some will go to Canada or South America or Europe. Some will stay in the U.S. but just want to go somewhere to “get away from it all.”

So I’m here to help.

First of all, if you plan to stay in the U.S. and haven’t decided where to go yet, consider Oxford, MS. Oxford is a wonderful, college town with a retirement community. There are plenty of things to do: arts, culture, sports, dining, outdoor activities. Oxford has great schools in both the county and city limits, is a designated bike-friendly community, has a world-class food scene, ranked #1 Smartest Place to retire, is home to the #1 bookstore in the country, ranked #2 of the top ten small towns in America and has literary charm. There are literally over 100 fun things to do in Oxford and if you don’t believe me, request my quarterly list of 100 Things To Do In Oxford MS.

So if Oxford seems like the place you want to move to, please call me and I’ll help you find your dream home. I am a REALTOR and work with Tommy Morgan Realtors in the Oxford office. We are a full service brokerage and can assist you through the entire process of buying a home here.cropped-dscn7959.jpg

Now, if you are one of the people leaving Oxford, know that we will miss you and wish you well. Again, please call me and I will help you sell your house. I am quite experienced with sellers that relocate due to jobs, mostly, and will take great care to keep your house watched over until it sells. Don’t worry about the paperwork; we can send it to you and most forms you can e-sign or sign before a notary or local attorney. With all of these people moving around I just might have a buyer for your house in the very near future.

Moving? Time is of Essence

Well, let’s get down to the business of all of this moving that is about to happen. There is much to do so it is wise to start preparing now. With the election just a few weeks away, you’ll have to be quick.

  1. Update or get your passport if you plan to move out of the country. With all of these people moving, you won’t have to stand in line if you do it now. Get up to date on those necessary shots, too.
  2. If you are a renter, get your notice in that you are leaving so you don’t get charged that extra month. You may have to pay to break your lease if it does not end for a while, but that’s ok. Add the extra cost to your moving budget so you won’t have any financial surprises at the end.

If you are a homeowner, get your house on the market fast while there is little competition. You’ll want your house to be the first to sell. Of course, if the house and yard are in disrepair it may take longer to sell than a spiffy new building with hardwood floors and the latest appliances and counter tops. But that’s ok; since you have no place to go yet you will have time to make some repairs and upgrades.  I have a list of local contractors and handymen that you could pick through to hire to help you, but do it fast to schedule them or you may be put on a waiting list…or DIY.

  1. Regardless of whether you rent or own, since you are moving, start packing. There might be a run on supplies and that would be horrible if you move but cannot pack your things. Boxes, tape and packing materials are expensive; add it to your budget. This is a good time to purge your belongings, too. I mean, really, if you’re one of the millions heading overseas, it will be so much cheaper for you to get rid of all that you have and lighten your load. Go shopping once you find a new hometown.

I have also read many times on the internet that many kind people will help you move. Specifically, I saw one woman’s Facebook post about her friend that wanted to leave the country after the election and she was offering to help her pack. How sweet and neighborly. So my point is, if you need help, there seem to be a lot of people that will give you a hand. And if you decide to purge your belongings, maybe those helpers would like them, too.6140787735_d253bfd60a_o

  1. Make arrangements for a truck. There are only so many to go around and if all of those people move at the same time, it will be difficult to get a truck when you need it, so make your truck reservations now. You could, in fact, order a storage container for the short term. The company you choose can bring the container to you, you pack it up and they’ll store that unit until you need it. When you find a new home just call them to deliver it. Remember that extra storage time and long-distance travel will cost you, so make note of that in your budget.
  2. Cancel your utilities, lawn care service, pest control, your daughter’s ballet lessons, pet walking service, and any upcoming doctor appointments. Empty your aquarium and give away the fish. Reptiles that you aren’t taking with you should go to a pet rescue service or a good friend. Have your mail held if you do not know your new address yet; have it forwarded if you do. Magazines don’t get forwarded so be sure to call them each about your move. Students will need to fill out the necessary paperwork to withdraw from school (sorry but tuition is non-refundable at most schools by this time of year). Notify your bank and other financial institutions, credit card companies, safe deposit box and credit monitoring subscriptions. These might put a hold on your accounts if they see unusual movement. You can’t move without money so make sure they know you are moving. Schedule car maintenance asap so you can get where you want to go in a safe car, even if it is just to the airport. Make sure your tags and ID cards are current. Of course if you are a homeowner, keep the utilities on so the house doesn’t mold over while it sits vacant waiting for a buyer. You can switch the utilities to the new owners. Get your children’s school records, doctor records, and stock up on prescriptions. Call your insurance company to let them know you are moving. They can advise you on keeping your stuff safe during the move.
  3. Empty out the refrigerator and pantry. Eat down your inventory and have friends handy on moving day to take the stuff you couldn’t eat. If you are using a moving company, drink all of your liquor now! They won’t pack or move liquids.
  4. Pack your bags for as many days as you’ll need until your stuff arrives at your new home or until you can get to the nearest shopping district in your new hometown. Keep valuable items with you at all times.
  5. Consider what to do with Fido or Miss Kitty. Make arrangements now.
  6. Hire a cleaning service to come in after you so you leave your place the way you originally found it.

Whew!  Are you sure you want to do this?

Just remember, I’m here to help whether you want to move away from or move to this great little town of Oxford, MS.

Bon Voyage.

Eileen Saunders is a Realtor® with Tommy Morgan Realtors in Oxford, MS. She is an expert at moving,  having moved 15 times in 23 years, buying, selling, and renting houses along the way. Her soon-to-be published book, tentatively titled “Moving,” chronicles her family’s adventures over the past years and includes tips to make your moves smoother and less stressful. You can reach Eileen at her office, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 or by phone: 662-234-5344 or 662-404-0816. Eileen is a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist® and believes in Equal Housing for all.

photo credit: libertygrace0 Moving House via photopin (license)

10 Ways to Prepare Your House For Sale: Living Room

The living room is usually the first room a person sees when they enter a house.  Your living room needs to be in top shape when you are selling your house. A cluttered entryway and a cluttered living room sets the stage for the rest of the house. Since people spend most of their time in the living room, that is the first place a buyer will start visualizing their stuff. Is there enough room for the furniture? Is the fireplace in an appropriate place for their furniture to configure around? What about wall space for art? Are there built-in bookcases? If so, will they work for the buyer’s needs?

Minimize your stuff to maximize the room. Declutter, repurpose space to its original intent, show off the walls, organize the room to flow. Here are some tips:

  1. Pack away most or all of your CDs, LPs and books. You are moving, so start packing now. You couldn’t possibly listen to all 1200 LPs before you move so crate them away safely to enjoy later.  Otherwise your livingroom will be remembered as the music room and the buyers will lose their own style.
  2. Stage the built-ins. Show off how much space the shelves provide with a few things on each rather than stuffing them full.9879804314_24caacd406_o.jpg
  3. Remove the family photos. It won’t be your room much longer so let the buyers envision it as theirs without your family members staring out from beautiful frames.
  4. Clean the carpet or polish the floors
  5. Out of place furniture, even if it is the comfy old seat, should be removed. Old, large furniture tends to overtake the space.
  6. Clean the fireplace, including the brickwork around it and the mantel. Make it fresh for the new owners.
  7. If your furniture is old and ruined by wear, consider storing it (or tossing it) and renting fresh furniture for staging.
  8. Remove what I call “dust collectors”; knick-knacks that will make you work hard to keep the house dust free. You are moving so start packing.
  9. Dust the ceiling fan and any hanging lamps. Change light bulbs to a brighter type.
  10. When showing your house, turn on ALL lights and open ALL binds and drapes. Letting the natural light indoors, combined with bright lamps will make the rooms look larger.

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

photo credit: Caswell via photopin (license)

12 Tips to Sell Your House When You Have a Pet

Your pet is part of the family and usually lives quite comfortably inside your house with you. But, when you are getting ready to sell the house you need to consider the pet with each step of the process.

Getting your house ready to sell, when you have a pet, means you need to look carefully at how your pet affects the house. Does it shed leaving tumbleweed sized hair balls to float around the floor? Is there a pet smell? You may want to ask your REALTOR or a true friend about the smell. You and other family  members may not notice it but strangers will. A pet odor may be in the duct work, the carpet, drapes and more so get a reliable opinion on this issue. Has your pet damaged any part of your house?

These things need to be considered to get the house ready to sell. And, since your pet will be living in the house with you, you need to  pay attention to cleaning up each day so buyers don’t turn around and leave before really seeing the house.

Here are some tips for getting the house ready to sell and for caring for your dog when the house is showing.

  1. Clean all the doors and windows of pet-nose dirt.
  2. Repair and paint doors where your dog has scratched. Keep the paint on hand for when you move out and need to make last minute touch-ups.
  3. Keep pet toys picked up.1386685309553
  4. Clean bird cages, litter boxes, hamster and reptile cages more often to keep fresher.
  5. Decide if the aquarium is moving with you. If not, now is the time to give the fish away and take down the system. Long distance moves are difficult with fish and reptiles. Research how to do it and make plans now.
  6. Invest in a robot-style vacuum cleaner that runs all day to keep the pet hair cleaned up.
  7. Fill in holes in the back yard where Spot digs.
  8. Repair fence damage caused by the pet. If you’ve had to fill in holes around the fence with concrete blocks and other barriers, find a way to restore the look of the original fence and keep Spot inside the yard at the same time. An altered fence will not only look junked up but will signal a “project” for the new owners. Most buyers want move-in ready.
  9. Repair chewed wood inside the house. While you’re at it, look at all other wood repairs on doors, windows and frames that need touch up.
  10. Pick up pet food bowls after each meal to keep the floor clean and clear.
  11. Repair damaged flooring.
  12. Replace pet-stained carpet for a healthy and fresh environment. A builder’s grade carpet in a neutral color makes it move-in ready and shouldn’t bust the bank account.

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

Photo: eileensaunders (c) 2016 all rights reserved