Tips From Our Local Experts

 ThTara Crope market is HOT!

Mortgage rates for all loans are VERY low, but so is housing inventory. That and the fact that there are now several programs that will allow buyers to purchase with $0 down are causing many homes to receive multiple offers and sell above the asking price. You need an experienced, full-time professional that can guide and advise you in this extremely competitive market so you can take advantage of these extremely low rates. Whether it’s your first home, an upgrade, new construction, or downsizing, the right agent can make the difference between buying your dream home or missing out.

Let me be the right agent for you. I’d be happy to interview with you to see if we’re a good fit. Call or text me anytime.

Tara Wallace, Realtor
Cell: 228.256.2693

“Picture perfect” a phrase every seller dreads when thinking about listing their home for sale…

laken 2Obtaining and maintaining that picture-perfect look can feel a bit overwhelming, but preparing your home for sale doesn’t have to be so stressful.

Before your professional photoshoot, I suggest focusing on a few things such as decluttering, organizing, deep cleaning, adding a fresh coat of paint where needed, and making sure the home has adequate lighting by replacing any burnt-out lightbulbs. Also, it never hurts to purchase a new shower curtain or accent pillows for the living room. To quickly tidy the house before a showing, keep an empty laundry basket handy to toss items in to take with you or put out of sight.

To get the most out of all your hard work, make sure you hire a full-time real estate professional who will help you correctly price the listing, effectively market the property, understand and manage buyer expectations, and coordinate home staging assistance if necessary.

If you have questions or would like to discuss listing your property, give me a call or text, and let’s get started!

Laken Scarborough, Realtor
Cell: 228.669.5485

Bay St Louis vs. Ocean Springs 

These beautiful beachfront communities are on opposite sides of the MS Gulf Coast but offer very similar amenities and tourist attractions. More importantly, both markets are on FIRE!april 5 (2)

Bay St. Louis offers a laid-back no “shirt, no shoes, no problem” attitude, stunning beaches, and a funky NOLA-influenced culture. The “Old Towne” area of Bay St. Louis is where all the action is! World-class restaurants, unique shops, and cool bars line the beach and offer gorgeous views of the marina, bay, and gulf. During the spring and summer months, locals and tourists enjoy a small street festival called “2nd Saturday”. Every second Saturday of the month crowds bike, golf cart, drive, or walk to bask in the sun, eat delicious food, listen to live music, and peruse the local shops and art galleries. Bay St Louis is often called a hidden gem, but in recent years has gained national attention for its affordability and hip, NOLA-influenced beach culture. Many Old Towne residents are in fact second homeowners or retirees from the NOLA area.

Just 50 minutes away on the other end of the Coast is another thriving gulf coast gem, Ocean Springs. Like Bay St. Louis, it offers a laid-back culture and lots of art, music, and great food year-round. In the bustling downtown area around Government Street, there is always something to do. New shops, restaurants, and bars are constantly popping up, giving locals and residents plenty to explore. The residential area between Government Street and Front Beach Drive is some of the most highly sought-after real estate on the entire Gulf Coast. These properties are walkable or “golfcart-able” to everything the downtown/Government street corridor has to offer, including the beautiful beaches of the area.

In this market, when more affordable “move-in ready” real estate becomes available in either Bay St. Louis or Oceans Springs, there is always a bidding frenzy! When shopping for real estate in these areas, you need to be ready to make a move as soon as your dream home hits the market. I’d love to tell you more about these areas and help you get prepared to buy, or assist you with marketing and selling your current home. Give me a call or text anytime!

April Cummins, Realtor
Cell: 228.731.0241


Purchasing New Construction vs. Existing Homes

DSC_0859Due to the national housing shortage, many buyers are choosing new construction over existing homes. In this hot market, many buyers find themselves in multiple offer situations. These “bidding wars” usually require buyers to offer and pay well over asking price for an existing home that often needs updating and/or repairs. With a new construction home you can often choose your paint colors, countertops, flooring, cabinets, brick, appliances etc. Buying a brand new home with modern finishes, current energy efficiency standards, new appliances, and a builder’s warranty can be worth waiting for if the home is in the process of being built but not complete.
How do you proceed with purchasing a new construction home? First, you need to get pre-approved with a lender to see just how much home you can afford. Second, you need to choose a builder and a lot. Many builders will build on one of their available lots that you can choose from, or a lot you purchase to build on. Often there are no extra out-of-pocket costs to purchase new construction vs. buying a pre-existing home, but it depends on the type of new construction you plan to buy. There are several differences between a custom builder and a tract builder.
Tract builders often have their own “preferred lenders” that will help you get pre-approved to purchase. They also give buyers the ability to choose from a few pre-selected options such as paint colors, light fixtures, appliances, flooring, countertops, etc., but only during the early stages of construction. Once a tract home is finished, the builder usually will not make modifications to the home. During or before construction begins, requests for modifications such as changing a bathroom layout by removing the tub for a walk-in shower may require a higher, non-refundable earnest money deposit. Many tract builders now have a policy not to make any significant changes to the floor-plan at all.
On the other hand, a custom builder will build whatever design you want on one of their lots or a lot you purchase. With a custom builder, if you pay with a loan, your builder will be given payment draws from your bank as construction progresses. You and your contractor will develop a plan of action and agree on materials, and a timeline. Afterwards, if you make significant modifications to the floorplan, materials, etc. the construction costs could significantly increase. A custom design is often more expensive than a tract builders pre-designed new construction home, but there’s more flexibility with design changes.
Whichever type of new construction home you purchase, your builder should offer a final walkthrough to address any imperfections, touch ups, etc. that need to be addressed before closing. This “punch list” that you and your builder create will ensure the construction is exactly what you expected and that you are satisfied with the final product. In the state of Mississippi, a builder is also required to include a 12-month builder’s warranty which will cover any issues that may arise with the home during your first year of homeownership.

If you are looking to purchase new construction, or an existing home, I can walk you through the buying process and answer all your questions. Give me a call or text anytime.

Paul Williams, Realtor
Cell: 228.861.2928

How to Build Wealth Consistently Using Real Estate

Joplyn 2A little over 10 years ago, our country was dealing with one of the worst economic crises of the 21 st century, and it felt like the market would never recover. In 2020, 5.64 million existing homes were sold according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. 2021 will be defined by low interest rates and low inventory which will continue to push home prices higher. This is creating opportunities for massive amounts of wealth to be built in real estate, and by ordinary people like us. Appreciation or the rising prices of homes over time is how many people build wealth through real estate. Appreciation combined with leverage offers large returns. If you are buying an investment property in which you are collecting rent, you are making a profit on the amount leftover after making the mortgage payment and covering all other monthly expenses. That will continue to build as you pay down the mortgage and over time, means more money in your pocket. Depreciation is a tax benefit that gives you the ability to write off part of the value of your real estate every year. This can reduce the amount of taxes you pay on the money you make, which means real estate can actually protect your wealth. Check with your CPA to learn how you can benefit from this. As you pay down your mortgage or improve your property, you are gaining the ability to leverage the wealth you have created. The safe way to leverage is to have a positive cash flow. If you leverage property by borrowing less than you make each month, that is a positive cash flow. Inflation also plays a significant role in why real estate builds wealth so consistently over time. As the value of money decreases, the price of goods and services increases.  The use of inflation to build wealth in real estate relies on the consistency of your large expenses. Your mortgage and property taxes, for example, stay fixed for the majority of your ownership of the property. If you are interested in learning more about investing in real estate for your future please give
me a call or text. I’d love to help!

Joplyn Roberts Kim, Realtor
Cell: 228.424.4377