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Get a Valuation on your home

September 21, 2020 begins National Home Valuation Week.

While there are plenty of online sites to give you what you think is a home valuation, the two best ways to find the current and most accurate valuation of your home is through 1) an appraisal and 2) through a local real estate professional.

Online websites use an algorithm that may not accurately depict your local market and, thus, your home value. Mississippi is a non-disclosure state so quite often these sites are inaccurate because they do not have access to public records that other states allow them to have.


A local real estate agent has his or her finger on the pulse of the local market and can advise you with both a comp analysis through their MLS, and an RPR (an algorithm-based REALTOR program tied into local MLSs across the country) to give you an understanding of your home’s current value, recent local market activity and the outlook for demand of your home and property.

Buyside is the company that came up with National Home Valuation Week and while I am not affiliated with Buyside, I am a REALTOR in Mississippi and can provide you with a comp analysis of your home in and around Oxford. The point of the week is to let homeowners know they have a local source for home valuation and buying/selling assistance: a local real estate agent.

The Covid-19 lockdowns have been an eye-opener for many homeowners who were forced to stay home for a length of time to both work and live. Recognizing a need for a new home or renovations, coupled with the low interest rates for mortgages, many homeowners have begun searching for a new home or working on enlarging the one they have. With a home valuation from a respected source (your local real estate broker or agent), you, the homeowner can make an educated decision on whether to sell and for how much.

Do you need a home valuation? Contact your favorite local real estate practitioner, or me. These can be done virtually, so no-contact meetings are available.

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Eileen Saunders, REALTOR, SRES, ePRO, C2EX with Tommy Morgan Inc., 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344

Six Things You Should Put In Storage While Selling Your Home

Well, you decided to sell your house. You are definitely going to move. You’re downsizing, upsizing, relocating…what ever the reason, you have to pack up your things, sell your house and move on.

Wait a second! Don’t most people sell their house first, THEN pack up and move?

Most of the time, this is the order of things but I want to introduce to you a little twist in the method.  You see, many of us have too many things. Large furniture, many pieces that can be fit into a room. Prints and paintings can sometimes be so large it’s hard to tell if that is the frame around it or the wall behind it. Kids toys are generally piled high in the corner of the play room or stuffed in the closet when guests come over.

Well, think this way. If you are moving, why not pack now?  I know that sounds extreme to some people but really, your house could sell tomorrow and then you have less time to get your things together.  In any case, it is a good idea to start the packing process early; as soon as you know you are moving. Here’s how:

Go through your items and take those things you do not want anymore to either the neighborhood consignment shop or donation center. Throw away the junk you’ve collected but do not need. Then rent a storage unit for a month or two and fill it with the following:

  1. Books. Your huge book collection looks great on your built-in cabinets but to a buyer it looks like clutter. A buyer might not be able to see the house as theirs, with their things in it, when all they can see is your book collection. Clear your shelves and stage them to look open and spacious. A few photos, a short stack of horizontal books, a glass jar or vase can still decorate and look appealing.booksm-collection-2578237_1920.jpg
  2. Music. CDs and record albums are more fragile than books and can take longer to pack sufficiently. And a large music collection will leave most buyers stopping to see what kind of music you like and compare their collection with yours. It’s fun to look at but distracting and by packing them away, you can free up a lot of space that can make a room look larger.
  3. Knickknacks. These collectibles take a while to pack up: individually they must be wrapped and packed so there is no chance of breaking them. If you don’t trust yourself, it’s o.k. to hire someone to come in this early in the game to help you get started.  Other knickknacks include trophy collections, other displayed collections and a wall filled with framed awards.  These are just some examples. Pack them up; you don’t need them out right now. Plus, trophys and awards are distracting to the buyer.
  4. Kids toys. Let’s say your house is competitively priced. It shouldn’t last long so take the toys your children don’t usually play with and pack them up. Well…if they don’t really play with them it may be time to pass them on to another family. If these are items that your children will pick up again after you move, box them up now; get rid of some of the clutter to show how big the rooms in the house
  5. Out of season clothes. Buyers want to know how much storage is available inside the house. If your closets are packed full with not only stuff but also clothes for all seasons then it is time to get them cleared out. Take the stuff and box it up. Separate your clothes by season and pack what you don’t need for now. Moving during a season change? Then pick the clothes you will most likely need in the next month.  If you are going from Spring to Summer, you certainly don’t need your coats, sweaters, heavy blankets, skis and snow boots. Pick what else you don’t need and pack it away.
  6. Excess furniture. You might love that wall to wall cabinet in your keeping room but if it isn’t staying with the house the room looks so much smaller than it really is. You might need that extra long dining room table for the holiday dinners but take the extra leaves out and shorten it to make the dining room look larger.  Are there more dressers and tables than you need in your bedrooms or living room?  Take some out to storage and show off the space available in those rooms. It might seem strange being without some of your furniture but in the long run, buyers can see the interior as it is meant to be which might help your house to sell quicker.

Now that you have packed some of your things, store them away in a storage unit…not your garage.  Buyers would want to see the space available to them in the garage and that would be hard to do if it is packed full.

The point is: you’re moving so why not pack what you don’t need. If your house is cluttered, even with the things you love, it can be distracting to a buyer. The clutter can make the space look smaller than it is. Once cleared out and staged, call your REALTOR and put your house on the market so you can move on.

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

Home Safety: Windows

I recently read a story about a theft in a family’s new home. Turns out the police investigation found the employees of the moving company were the robbers.  These two men moved the family to their new home and left a lower-level window unlocked. Not long after, when the homeowners were gone for the day (work, school), these guys got into the house through that window and stole some items.

Moral of the story: Always check your windows to make sure they are locked.

Home sellers: after each showing, check your windows.  I’m not saying everyone is dishonest but people do like to test things out. Buyers will run the faucets, open and close a few windows, cabinets, oven, pantry and more. Make a quick check after a showing to make sure your home is safe, even a garage window. If there is a note on the door to the garage telling agents to leave it unlocked (kids might use the key pad to get inside after school) and the garage has windows, that  is an easy entry point. Be secure.

Home buyers: after you move in, make sure your windows are locked. Don’t assume they are. The previous owner could have had windows open to air out the house while they were moving out. A less-than-honest worker could unlock a window to get back in. Movers know what kind of stuff you have, especially if they’ve packed it which makes for the point that you should pack your valuables.

Homeowners: you know that “tricky” window in the dining room?  Get it fixed so it can close and lock properly. I was recently showing a house to a buyer and discovered a water stain on the window sill that looked like it had been there for a long time. I don’t think it had rained for 90 days at that point. The window, it turned out was left unlocked and opened because it was stubborn and wouldn’t close tightly enough to latch.  They are sometimes easy to fix so please, for your safety, get that “tricky” window fixed.

Moving companies do their best to hire the most honest people but like any other business, sometimes a dishonest person can slip through the cracks. Just be aware that if this happened once, it could happen again.

So, how do you know your real estate agent is safe and honest? In a growing number of states real estate agents must go through a background check in order to get and maintain a license.  Fingerprints are also kept on file. Recently, Mississippi has joined at least 37 other states that require this.

Be safe.

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.

9 Ways to Save Energy on Thanksgiving

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used with permission

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

3 Low-Cost Tips to Fix Leaky Windows

  • Got Leaky Windows? 3 Low-Cost Tips to Fix Them

    I used to hang an extra woolly robe in my bathroom because my post-shower route took me past a window so drafty it made me wonder about the etymology of “window.” Turns out it comes from the Anglo-Saxon “vindr” and “auga,” which translates as “wind eye.” How appropriate. Read

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Reprinted with permission

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

5 Safety Tips: Securing Your Home Part 1

It doesn’t matter how much time you spend at your home, how many security systems or barking dogs you have, it still makes sense to follow common sense ways to keep your house secure.

l. Make sure your doors are always locked.  A story circulated last year that a mom was getting her kids ready for school. Her husband had already left for work and left the front door unlocked. She walked out of one room and into the living room to find a stranger going through her things.  True story; don’t let this happen to you.

Image result for burglar
Credit: Creative Commons

2. Check your window locks. Surprisingly, I have noticed a lot of lower-level windows unlatched when I show a house. If someone is going to break into your house, they’ll want to find an easy way to get in. Don’t help them. Always check your windows. If y ou have a window that doesn’t shut properly, call a professional to fix it. Better to pay a few dollars for repair, than come home to find your house has been broken into.

3. Keep outside areas well lit. Do not give a thief an opportunity to hide in darkness around your house in order to break in, unseen.

4. If you have a garage but park outside, make sure your cars are locked each night before heading to bed.  I lock each of our cars by remote and watch to see the headlights light up for assurance. Not only do you leave your car vulnerable to theft when it is unlocked, but if your garage door opener is in the car you’ve just invited a stranger into your house. A former neighbor’s garage was emptied one night because she left her car unlocked. Bikes, tools, golf clubs: all gone. (that wasn’t in my current neighborhood)

5. Do not leave a key to the house under a rock near your front door, or any door. It’s so common place, someone is bound to find it. I just found an old key sticking out of my front garden. Yup…it opened my front door. Maybe I should have had my locks rekeyed when I moved in (like I always suggest to homebuyers). I know…time slips away and before you know it you’ve been in the house over a year with the same locks.  I searched near all of the other doors to my house and that was the only “hidden” key. Lesson learned for me. If you need to give someone access to your house, put a coded keypad on the front door (be sure to keep up with the batteries). If you have a garage, code the garage keypad just for that person and hide a key inside of the garage so he/she can get into the house from there. But don’t put a key under a rock or your doormat.

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



Thank A Mail Carrier Day 2016

Moving can be an exhausting activity. There are too many things to do but one is most important of all: changing your mailing address with the post office.

As soon as you have a move out day or a closing date and the contingencies on your sales contract are removed, go ahead and change your mailing address.  Whether you arrive at your destination by that date or not, you’ll want your mail there waiting for you, not the other way around.  How frustrating for you to have your mail go to the “old” address and then have to wait for it to be forwarded to you by the new owners, if they are kind enough to do that.

The new home owner should write “not at this address” or something similar on your mail and send it back to the post office. The post office will then forward it to you but you will have to have a forwarding order  placed with the post office for that to occur.

If you get mail at your new residence for the previous owners, please be kind and forward their mail along.

Change of address can be done for free at the post office on a form or online at for a small convenience fee.

Then stick a nice note into your mailbox today to say “THANKS” to the guy or gal that delivers all of your bills, catalogs, birthday cards and online purchases.  Today is, after all, Thank A Mail Carrier Day.

No Sign Ordinance Hearing Tonight


The sign ordinance proposal has been tabled for at least two weeks and removed from the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

No public hearing at this time. If you were planning to attend based on this issue, you can now do something else.

I will stay in touch as I find out information with a possible new hearing date or another decision about the proposal.

Thanks for contacting the Aldermans’ offices as well as the local Board of Realtors with your questions and concerns.

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