South Central Mississippi Real Estate and Community News

Feb. 17, 2021

Investor Questions

Investment property owner questions:

Have you ever thought about trying your hand at investing in real estate? Are you thinking of the property as a rental to make money off, or are you wanting to renovate and then sell? We will be discussing investment properties and going through some questions that may help you decide if it's right for you.

"What's my budget?"

This question is one that you should be asking yourself and going over with a financial advisor. Knowing your budget is crucial because you need to know what you can afford to buy and the cost of renovation of the property if required. Whether you turn it into a rental or flipping the home to sell, you do not want to run out of money and not finish your project. Do not be afraid to reach out to your community to see what they are looking for in a home or rental. Feedback from the people that you are serving is the best way to get information on how to better your business or side project.

"What is the vacancy rate in the neighborhood?"

Being able to understand the vacancy rate is vital. You want to make sure that you will rent your rental, or if you put your renovation on the market that it will sell. Buying and selling tend to have trends, so make sure you are entering the market at the right time. If you are renting your investment project, places with colleges nearby, army bases, and even hospitals are institutions you should contemplate. These institutions have people that are constantly rotating and moving.

"When was the roof, furnace, AC Unit, and water heater replaced?"

These elements are something that can be a considerable expense if they need replacing. It would be best if you asked your agent about the age of these items, and they should be in the property disclosure. Be sure to use your judgment as well when looking at the house and observing these items. You will eventually know what you will have to replace and can allocate these expenses into your budget.

"Is the home in a flood zone or prone to other natural disasters?"

Some houses tend to be in the flood zone, which can be a concern in many cases. Make sure to check the FEMA's flood zone map and see if your agent can find out if the home has ever flooded before. Even if the property is in the flood zone, the owners must be as honest as possible when filling out the Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS). They will be able to let you know if the property has flooded before. This information is super important and can affect if the home is worth buying or not.

"Trends of mortgage and rent rates?"

Understanding and watching the market is something that can benefit you as an investor. You want to make sure that you are purchasing and either selling or renting at the right time. Learning trends before you get into investing will help you once you have started investing.

If you are thinking of investing in real estate, be sure to talk to agents and lenders, and other people who are willing to share their experience in real estate investments. It can be a tricky process to start, but the individuals in real estate investing thrive off taking a risk and facing challenges head-on. Hopefully, with these questions, you can see if you are willing to take on a side project that can eventually become your full-time responsibility.

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 10, 2021

Seller's Questions

Important Questions Seller's Should Be Asking

Do you think that you are ready to sell your house? Need some guidance in the right direction on where to turn? Hopefully, with these questions and answers, we can guide you to find the right agent. We discuss the types of questions you should be asking and the best solutions. Listing price, marketing, and preparing your house are some of the questions we will be talking through.

"How did you arrive at your suggest list price?"

The answer that comes from your agent should support it with actual data. Some factors have an essential role in figuring out the perfect price for your home. These include Similar homes in the area that have sold recently, and one is under contract pending, and the current competition in your asking price range. You can find all this information in what is known as comps, and this is a list of recently sold homes in your area. Some other factors include square footage, condition, beds and baths, lot size, and school district. If you live in a non-disclosure state, this means you will have to get your agent to show you a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to view the sold price of homes in your neighborhood. If you observe that your agent lacks data to find your price point, they are probably inexperienced and may not negotiate for you when needed.

On the other hand, agents that practice has the chance of using this information against you. They do this by making the listing price extraordinarily high and have it sit on the market for way too long. When this happens, potential buyers start believing that there is a significant problem with the property. Your agent will come back have you lower the price, and you end up selling your home for way less than what it is worth.

"How should I prep my home to sell?"

Preparing your home to be listed is such an important step. When thinking and planning for this step, the first word that should come to mind is cleaning. You want to clean your home so that it is worthy of someone's Pinterest page. When looking at pictures, how most buyers shop today, they do not want to see clutter. Along with cleaning comes repairs. Your agent will suggest getting any minor known repairs done before getting to market. With the internet, people are shopping for houses online and seeing pictures of your home, so it's imperative to have the very best images. You get one chance to make a good impression, so make sure to hire a professional for this job.

"Are you representing the buyer also?"

When the agent represents the buyer and the seller, this is called "dual agency," and only a few states consider it illegal. NO should follow this question. If an agent tells you YES, you should probably consider finding another agent. With Dual Agency being in place, this means that the agent can no longer negotiate for you. It's also not the best practice because the agent can become careless because they are getting paid from both you and the buyer no matter what. Even though the majority of states allow this practice, it is frowned upon by many.

"How are you going to market my home?"

When interviewing your potential agent, please find out how they are going to market your home. They have many resources that they can use to sell your house to find the best buyer. You and your agent will likely talk about MLS listings, staging, description of your property, the price of the home, and advertising. It would help to find out what the selling feature of your house. With proper research, your agent should be able to use those features to show buyers. Speaking of buyers, ask your agent about the type of buyer that would be interested in your home.

By answering these few questions, you can understand the type of agent that will represent you. Agents want to convey that you can make the best memories in your home. Before getting into an agreement with an agent, make sure you are asking the right questions. Do not be afraid to ask friends that have sold their houses about their experience with their agents.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 3, 2021

Buyers Questions

Answers to common questions for Buyer

Buying a house is a big step when you are in any phase of life. This week, we help buyers and answered some of the questions they have regarding purchasing a house. Many people fear the home buying process, but hopefully, we can answer some of those questions and take away some of the whole process's anxiety. The questions will include talking about budgets, property risks, and conditions, and neighborhood.

When buying a home, there are always questions about the budget. One of the best questions is, "what your total cost?" This question will include what you will pay for before or at closing. Typically, these fees include, but are not limited to, appraisal, the property itself, inspection, mortgage interest, mortgage insurance, homeowner's insurance, taxes, and sometimes HOA fees. HOA fees do not include every house, but you will likely end up having some HOA fees if you are looking for something in a distinguished neighborhood. It would be best if you also were asking about time.

You want to ask your realtor, "how long has the house been on the market?" because knowing this will give you some room for negotiating. The longer the duration on the market, the more it signals a problem or issue with the property. Legally, your agent must inform you about certain things they know are wrong with the property. There will be certain things that your agent doesn't know about the property that will appear in the inspection. Often, homes will end up staying on the market because the price is too high for the property. With this knowledge, your agent should help you negotiate an affordable price because the seller would be more inclined to get the property sold.

Another essential question is, "why is the seller leaving?" This question can also help with your negotiating. There are several reasons that a person is choosing to leave their current home- need more space for growing family, downsizing for retirement, job relocation, or a significant family event. Time on the market and the seller's reasons for leaving give the seller motivation to work out a deal and provides the buyer with room for some negotiating. Before working out an agreement with the seller, ask your agent questions about the property risk and condition.

A risk that a buyer tends to take is the appliances and whether they come with the home or not. If they do, you want to ask, "how old are the major appliances?" This question will help determine if you will need to replace these components sooner than you want. This unfortunate e/Pvent is only one significant expense that you may have to come up with after purchasing your new home. Another liability that you are going to want to ask about is the roof.

When thinking of the property, one question that you should ask is, "how old is the roof?" The agent should be able to give you that information. This question is important because if the roof is near the end of its life cycle, the lender can ask that it be changed to get your loan approved. You also want to find this information out because you don't want to be paying for a new roof shortly after moving in. When thinking about the roof, you also need to think about weather conditions.

Buying a home means thinking of everything, and that includes the weather. So, the question you should be asking is, "Is this home in a flood zone?" or "does it risk damage from other natural disasters?".Buyers can search every home on FEMA's flood map. If it does pose a risk to flooding, you will need to investigate purchasing flood insurance separately. A tip for purchasing insurance is to make sure that it covers the cost to rebuild your home if it becomes wrecked. Before purchasing your dream home, you may want to find out about the neighborhood and if that feels like the best fit.

It would be best if you asked, "how is the neighborhood?" to get an idea of who or what you could be living next door. You can get an idea of what a community is like by researching crime statistics, school districts, and community amenities. An excellent way to understand the neighborhood is to ask someone that has lived there. Besides the area, you may want to also ask about the neighbors directly beside and sometimes behind your property.

Buying a house is sometimes considered a stressful and lengthy process. We hope to help answer some of your questions with this blog and give you some guidance on your homebuying process. If you have any other questions about the process or what you might need to qualify, comment down below, and we can help!

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 26, 2021

Popular Neighborhoods

Home search in Hattiesburg, Petal, and Oak Grove

In this week's blog post, we are rounding up some of the best neighborhoods-in our opinion- in the Hattiesburg area. From Petal to Hattiesburg to Oak Grove, we will be sharing what we think brings out the best in these six subdivisions and why you should consider moving and joining the fun.

Longleaf Acres is an excellent subdivision in Petal to call home. There are smaller subdivisions that help make up this large area, including Marshall Place, Northfork, and Southfork. It is on the outskirts of Petal, meaning that it's peaceful and out of the way from heavy traffic. The subdivision is not so far out of the way, with only a 10-minute commute into Petal and only 15 minutes to Hattiesburg. This area is known to be out in the county. It has one lake that is only allowed for fishing. The average property size in this subdivision is around 1 acre per lot, giving you and your family plenty of room to hang out and play. Another great subdivision in Petal is Trailwood.

Trailwood is a large subdivision in the Petal area with two extensions: The Willows and Trailwood West. The subdivision is one large lake and two smaller ones. These subdivisions are more of custom-built homes, so there are not many cookie-cutter styles. Trailwood has easy access to the Evelyn Gandy Parkway and a few of the schools. They are in the city limits, so you must consider the taxes when purchasing a home in this location. Another development that is a great location is Timberton in Hattiesburg.

Timberton is a subdivision located right off Highway 11 with easy access to Highway 98 and Highway 49. This premier subdivision has the best of the best golf courses in the area. The houses here are custom-built and perfect for the family that is looking for something completely different. This subdivision also has another phase called Lake View that is seated between Brittany's Pond and the Club House Lake. Timberton is also near Forrest General and nestled between the two universities in town, The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey. On the other side of Hattiesburg, there is a beautiful subdivision, Shadow Ridge.

Shadow Ridge is another golf community that is in the center of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This neighborhood is placed within the Hattiesburg city limits and filled with custom-built homes. It is five minutes from Turtle Creek Mall and other strip malls, making it the perfect location for shopping and dining. This location is also great because you are surrounded by 500 acres of tall pines, beautiful magnolias, and luscious dogwood trees even though you are within the city limits. The golf course is 18- holes that are great for a variety of skill-level golfers.

Lake Serene sits on five lakes, making it the best for aquatic activities. It is also in a great location to the Oak Grove school and shopping in Hattiesburg. The people who live in this area are a part of the Lamar County School District, one of the area's largest school districts. This development is custom-built homes, and the plot of land tends to be larger than some subdivisions. A little further down the road is a subdivision known as Canebrake.

Canebrake is a trendy area to live in Oak Grove. It is a little further out of the way in Oak Grove but is very lovely. They have a members-only country club with a well-developed 18-hole golf course, a spa, fitness center, and indoor and outdoor dining venues. With an over 250-acre lake, this is also an excellent spot for aquatic activities that can include the whole family. Shopping and other activities are only about 15 minutes away.

These subdivisions that make up this community are vital. They are where our members get to call home and feel safe. They are where the best memories are made and are the heartbeat of the area. No matter what subdivision you decide to call home you are part of something great.

Posted in Community News
Jan. 19, 2021

Activities for Kids

Fun Local Activities With Your Kids

Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas dedicate time to teaching the children of the community. These are just a few things to do that are great for kids and the family. They are educational, but they are also great places to create memories that can last a lifetime.

The Hattiesburg Zoo is something that the whole family can enjoy. There are several attractions, including a mining expedition and high ropes course. The Hattiesburg Zoo also focuses on educating people on wildlife and conservation. During the summertime, the splash pad is the best place to cool down. There is also a sloth experience that you can register to get a hands-on encounter with a real sloth! The zoo is continually adding new animals that make for a whole new adventure. They are often creating new additions to the zoo, so there is always something to do for the entire family. Be sure to check out their Facebook page before you go to see the events that are happening.

If you are looking for something to do during the summer, there is always Paul B Johnson State Park. There is a campsite that you can bring a camper or even tent camping. There is also a walking trail, several places for a picnic, and a beach with swimming spots on the lake. If you have a boat, it's a great place to go water skiing, wakeboarding, and even tubing. There is also a splash pad and a course for disc golf. Paul B Johnson is guaranteed to be a good time for the whole family. On special occasions, such as the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve, they also do a fireworks display. Another area that is fun for camping is Okatoma.

The Okatoma is not only a campsite that allows primitive camping; they also have canoe and kayak rentals. The rentals are cheap, and you can bring your kayak and use the parking and the bus service they offer to pick up and drop off locations. On the website, they offer three different trips that you can take and pick you up with an estimated time of the trips. I have personally gone down the three hours one and found that it is the most enjoyable. You can go early enough to have a picnic lunch and indulge in the great outdoors. If you are looking for something to do indoors, the trampoline park is one of the best places.

Updown Trampoline Park in Hattiesburg is a great place to take the kids- and even parents- to burn off some energy. It is indoors, so it is one of the best options for a rainy day or just wanting to get out of the house. Whether you are going for a party or just trying to get a play date together, the trampoline park is something that can be enjoyed by all ages.

You never know what might pop up around town for you and the family to do. We would love for you to join in on the fun and see what all this beautiful area has to offer. Whether it's something to do inside or out, Hattiesburg has always got you covered on keeping the kids entertained.

Posted in Community News
Jan. 12, 2021

What We Love About the Local Area

Read Why We Love Our Community

This week we are discussing what we love about the local area. Being that we live in a rural area, there are few things to do, but we can make the most of it. There are many things to love about this area and the small joys that come with it. As we grow, we are learning about new activities that are happening around us. There are seasonal things that happen, and then there are some wholesome everyday things that can occur when living in Hattiesburg and surrounding areas.

A seasonal thing that happens here is the Farmer's Market. Mississippi is an agricultural state; there is always fresh produce and having such easy access to these goods makes it one of the best events of the year. The Farmer's Market usually ends at five and if you stay around you will be able to enjoy some live music at 'Live at 5' with some local artists performing. The Farmer's Market and 'Live at 5' can be found at a park in the downtown area and usually happens from April to October.

Another thing to love about the area is the tight-knit community that comes with it. Our broker talked about how it takes a village to raise a family and that the communities became a vital part of his village. From the sporting events to the dance recitals to show choir competitions, you will meet so many families that are going through almost the same thing as you. You can learn so much about your child and get advice from men and women that have been there. The people of the Hub City community are always willing to help or lend a hand.

It is not hard to make connections here, either. There is always somebody who has a link that can help you with any project you have going on. The southern hospitality is very genuine for this area, and the people that make up the community take pride in it. Friends are easy to make, and they are the ones that quickly turn into family.

From making connections to catching local entertainment, there is always something to make you feel welcomed. We take delight in the simple times and lean on each other during the demanding times. Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas are a great place to visit but an even better place to call home.

Posted in Community News
Jan. 5, 2021

Best Local Restaurants

Find your next favorite place to eat

Today we are highlighting some of the best restaurants in the local area. These are ones that we often frequent and love to show support by going and dining. Some of the restaurants in this list are ones that you are more than likely going to run into someone you know.

Keg and Barrel

The 1st location is in the downtown area; they also have one in the West Hattiesburg area and recently opened one on the coast. The restaurant is an old house converted, with three bar areas and a game room attached. People flock here for birthdays, graduations, and the majority of the time just for a good drink and delicious food. It is one of the few places that has ample outdoor seating and plenty of it. The Keg is often full of people, and they usually know somebody that is already there to save a spot. Keg and Barrell is one of the most popular places in town. Stop by, and you might spot a familiar face.

Sully's Tavern

Sully's is a spot that has been open since 2011 and serving up some of the best steaks in town. They have two locations, one on Sullivan Kilrain Rd, and the newest is right off the Evelyn Gandy Parkway in Petal. They are open every day of the week, except Sundays, and some evenings there is live music to enjoy while you dine. If you are not feeling the steak, try one of their fish options. They even have a great lunch menu that will be a little easier on your wallet. Both locations are great for celebrations or just a casual lunch spot.

Murky Waters

Murky Waters is a barbeque joint serving up some of the most outstanding smoked food in town. They have three locations, One across the street from the Zoo in Hattiesburg, one on the thriving Government St in Ocean Springs, and the other on 27th Avenue in Gulfport. They have delicious food and a great atmosphere for live music. It may be new to the Hattiesburg area but is steadily gaining recognition as an excellent spot for a delicious meal and tasty drink.

The Brass Hat

The Brass Hat is a bar and restaurant located in the Indigo Hotel right across from The University of Southern Mississippi. It's chic, classy, fun, and always a great atmosphere. You do not have to be staying at the hotel to see what the fuss is all about. They are consistently serving new drinks with themes for the seasons and delicious food.

These are just a few of the places that we love to dine. If you are in the area and have the chance, we highly recommend you try one of them out. They are always so welcoming. You will leave with a full stomach and a new memory to share.

Posted in Community News
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates