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Sign Ordinance Proposed for Oxford MS

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

The following is the opinion of Eileen Saunders, REALTOR

Homeowners, business owners and anyone doing business in Oxford, MS: a proposed law by the City Council will negatively affect your rights so please read on.

A hearing is scheduled on February 2 at 5pm in the courtroom at City Hall for a proposed ordinance relating to signs that everyone needs to attend.

Homeowners, rental property owners, and landowners will be hindered from properly selling their property if this becomes law.

Business owners will be hindered from promoting their business.

Residents and business owners will have property rights taken from them.

The ordinance calls for a limit of 365 days that a property can have a temporary sign installed. Once the sign is taken down, whether on the 365th day or any time before, the property cannot have another sign on it for 365 days.

Should your house be for sale or rent, if you do not sell or rent within 365 days (which happens) you have to take down your sign and wait another 365 days to putting it back up.  You can’t put up a different sign. You can’t put up any sign, even your kid’s Oxford High School (OHS) sign.  Now, in the case of real estate, you may apply for a 90-day extension but you need a good reason for the extension and it may not be granted. So your house or property goes un-signed and your REALTOR cannot do his or her fiduciary duty for the sale of your house or land.

If you just had a contractor’s sign or and OHS sign or Ole Miss sign in your yard, you may not be able to put a political sign in your yard during campaign season if you’ve met your 365 day.  This is a free speech issue. It’s a property rights issue.

Restaurants with menu boards will lose out too.  Only 365 days, then you have to wait another 365 to put it back out on the sidewalk.  Those flag signs are included in this.

This ordinance affects anyone with a city water hookup.

Lafayette County residents should take note, too, because the city can annex your part of the county sometime in the future and then your property would be included in this law. This ordinance affects everyone: those who live and work in Oxford and those who do business in Oxford; those who would one day to own a house or condo in Oxford. It will also affect everyone around the country. If Oxford can pass a law like this, it sets a precedent and other towns, cities, counties and states around the U.S. can pass a law like this.

Click this link for a copy of the City Sign Ordinance. I encourage all citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County and those who do business within Oxford to attend the meeting next Tuesday  and express your opposition to this. Voting by our Alderman may or may not take place on this date, but it is important for everyone to express their view.

The City Council meeting is Tuesday  at 5pm in the Courtroom of City Hall.  Please plan to attend and voice your opposition.

I’m encouraging my friends and readers to oppose this proposal because I believe that it will hinder your rights as a property owner to pursue the disposition of your property and the right to choose who will represent you in the disposition of your property.  It will hinder your rights to share with others the businesses you have chosen to hire to do work around your house. It will hinder your rights to express your support for your high school, a charity, or political candidate.

As a REALTOR, my duties to you, the seller, are compromised by this law. As a business owner, my abilities to advertise for my clients are restrained. If you are a business owner, you too need to consider how this may affect you.

I oppose this proposed ordinance and I believe you should, too.

10 Tips for Home Sellers

These are 10 legal mistakes home sellers make.

  1. Accepting the buyer with the highest offer without regard to the other contractual terms.
  2. Not properly handling multiple offer situations with multiple buyers.
  3. Not properly handling back-up offers.
  4. Entering into an agreement with no earnest money deposit from the buyer, or a very small amount.
  5. Entering into an agreement before verifying the buyer’s financial ability to close.
  6. Not providing the buyer with property disclosures.
  7. Not obtaining buyer’s acknowledgement of receiving property disclosures.
  8. Not disclosing known material fact affecting the value or desirability of the property.
  9. Not requiring the buyer to remove timely contingencies.
  10. Not excluding items from the sale that the seller wants to keep.

Your Realtor is a trained negotiator and, as a licensed real estate professional, knows the law, the proper forms and timeline for getting things done.

However,  if you want to sell your house on your own, knowing about these 10 things can help.



Eileen Saunders, Realtor with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655. 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344  Equal Housing (courtesy of CAR)

Homestead Exemption In Mississippi

If you bought a home in Mississippi during 2015 you can save on your local taxes by filing for Homestead Exemption.  Your home needs to be your primary residence to qualify. If you have two or more homes you can only claim one for your primary residence even if one or more are in another state.  Contact your local tax office if you have more questions about this.  In Lafayette County the phone number is 662.234.5562

When you bought your home, you may have been made aware of the current tax amount and that Homestead Exemption had been filed for. This would have been on the MLS details and given to you at and prior to closing.  As a new owner you will need to file for yourself to continue the exemption, otherwise your taxes will go up and you will have to wait until the next cycle to file which is always January 1 to April 1.  If you have any questions please call your local tax assessor’s office.

Once you file for Homestead Exemption you don’t have to do it again. However there are 3 reasons you would need to:

  • If you have already filed for homestead exemption and during the previous year turned 65,
  • or became 100% disabled

For these two reasons you would recieve a Special Exemption, saving you more money.  The third reason is

  • you sold your house and moved to another

Click here for information about property taxes in Mississippi. A phone number is provided on this link if you have more questions.

When you file for homestead exemption you must file in person and you will need to take documention relating to your home and your car and have a state-issued ID with you. Below is a detail of what you will need or click here for a printable version:  Homestead info 2016 Oxford


Homestead info 2016 Oxford-page-001

Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional and this article is for information purposes only.  The tax office in your county is the best source of information regarding tax issues that affect  you and if you have any questions or doubts to the validity of this article, please call them.

Estimates on Home Values

Mississippi is a non-disclosure state. This means that the price you pay for your house is your business and no one else’s.

So when you are looking online for a new house in Mississippi, you may see some real estate websites offering an estimate that is much lower than the seller’s asking price.

Does the seller think too highly of their home?

Is the value really what the estimate states?

Beware of these estimates. In Mississippi, since the last selling price of a house is not public record, these websites are simply guessing and these guesses can do harm to the integrity of the local housing market.

The LA Times wrote a story on this issue in 2015 which gives insight to this being a nationwide problem.  This article is helpful.

If you really want a particular house and don’t want to use a real estate professional’ help, then you need to take the seller’s word for the value. Chances are, before they decided to sell their house, the owners were offered a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) from a local Realtor(r) and are confident in their pricing skills.  Also, remember that while the seller is not using a real estate professional you shouldn’t assume it’s ok to take the 5-7% commission off the price they are asking.  If the seller has already discounted that price, your offer could be insulting. There is always a point where seller and buyer meet but if the seller comes back with a counter offer closer to their original price, you might want to follow their lead and either take their counter offer or make another counter closer to their price. An insulted seller may simply reject your offer and not give you a chance to redeem yourself.

If you are using a buyer’s agent to help you find a home, trust their opinion on the pricing of the homes that you are looking at.  A low-ball offer is insulting to the owner and if taken can affect the local market and ultimately your resale value. Real estate professionals do have access to the paid amount of a property.  A low price can affect the CMA and can question the integrity of the house when you go to sell it in the future, bringing you less money.

Beware of online estimates.

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



10 Things To Do In Oxford MS In December 2015

Christmas is right around the corner.

Oxford MS residents are dressing up their homes with lights and greenery. Store shelves are emptying out as students clamor between classes and studying for exams, to get their friends and professors a gift. Businesses are preparing for the holiday office party. Christmas tree sellers are almost sold out.


But if you want to take a break from the planning and doing, and just want to have some fun, here are some things to consider:

  1. University Holiday Concert, Friday Dec 4, 7pm at the Ford Center
  2. Oxford Christmas Parade through the Square, Dec 7
  3. Gingerbread House display, Ford Center, Dec 3-19
  4. Santa’s Workshop, UM Museum, Dec 5, 10am-1pm
  5. Holiday Ornament Auction, Dec 10, 7pm, Powerhouse
  6. A Christmas Carol, Dec 5, 3pm, Ford Center
  7. Christmas with the Celts, Dec 13, 3pm, Ford Center
  8. Oxford Civic Chorus presents A Ticket to Ride, Dec 14, 7pm, North Oxford Baptist Church
  9. Drive around the various neighborhoods at night and look at Christmas lights.
  10. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Square while the Christmas lights are on.CAM04325

Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singling loud for all to hear.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I find a few of you huddled together on the Square singing Christmas songs.  Enjoy!


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