Friday, December 21, 2007

Charity Car Wash helps Biloxi woman

Today we held a charity car wash to raise money for Ms. Nellie Hargrove of Biloxi. This sweet elderly ladely's home was damaged during Katrina and only received $900 dollars from FEMA. Her story can be best told by her, you can click this link and watch her video.

The car wash was held at the Shoe Dept in Ocean Springs, right in front of Ocean Springs Wal-Mart. We were there from 9-1. We will hold another car wash on January 13th from 11-3 to raise more money. If you would like to volunteer your time to help or make a donation please feel free to contact me. And please, come get your car washed on Jan 13th. Pass the word to everyone you know. Thanks.

Sgt Real Estate

Saturday, November 24, 2007

GO-Zone?! What's is that?

As a Realtor in the Biloxi and Ocean Springs area's of the Gulf Coast, I've heard the term "GO-Zone" thrown around A LOT!! I never really paid too much attention to it because it seemed that everyone who was talking about it was doing commercial real estate and represented investors. NOW... that's me. So I had to do throw on the old pack, lace up the boots, hit the ground running and do a little recon. Like all good intel, it's useless if it isn't shared with those who need it, so here's what I have learned about the GO-Zone (also known as the Gulf Opportunity Zone).
Well first I can now say I see why Real Estate Investors love this opportunity, man can you make some serious dollar bills with this. The GO-Zone was created to help revitalize the areas affected by Hurricane's Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. The map to the left shows the areas in Mississippi that are GO-Zone areas. The key thing with the GO-Zone is it allows you to accelerate your depreciation of your investment assets. Where as before you have always had to write depreciation off over a 26.5 yr period, now you can take a 50% depreciation the very 1st year. In order to do this you must be a "real estate professional." If you want help with that term feel free to email me.
Here's the thing though, your asset must be "in-service" during that year, not just being built or land just purchased or whatever. Also, you can only take the 50% deduction on the "improvements" not the land, or if you bought an already existing property, you can only take the 50% deduction on the amount of the rehab cost.
Another great thing is this, usually depreciation is added in as income and is therefore taxable, GO-Zone deduction is not. It allows you to lower your income, thereby reducing your tax liability, every investor loves that don't they.
Please keep in mind I am NOT a tax professional and this is merely an overview of this program as I understand it, if you are looking to buy a property I would suggest you do the proper research to ensure it's eligibility (which I will gladly help you with) and also the tax benefits associated with it. And finally I'll leave you with this, as a Real Estate Investor, I wouldn't use the tax incentive to be the determining factor in my purchase choice, if the deal doesn't make sense without the GO-Zone incentive, don't do it. The GO-Zone tax incentive should just be a little extra icing on the cake, sorta like... when you buy a new car and they throw in floor mats for free.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sergeant Real Estate goes Commercial.

Well I've done it!! I've entered the shark infested world of commercial real estate. Lucky for me, and all of my current and future clients, I've teamed up with one of the TOP PRODUCING COMMERCIAL REALTORS on the entire Gulf Coast. (Yes he has the awards to proof it)

So what does this mean? It means that I am learning about all kinds of new and exciting things such as GO-Zone, Investor principles, and project planning just to name a few. I will be sharing information on these items as the days pass.

What does this NOT mean? This does not mean that I have turned my back to my military families or anyone looking to buy and sell homes. I still LOVE to do that and will continue to do so for a long time.

I'll stay in touch, so don't be a stranger.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mississippi home buying tips.

There are lots of great articles that I have written on buying real estate in Ocean Springs and Biloxi Mississippi (MS). If you will scroll down the right side of this website you will come to my archive, I recommend you look through some of those articles. But as always, I've gotta give you more so hear goes.

1. THE MARKET: Today's market is different than the market was a year ago. After Katrina we real experience a Seller's Market here in Biloxi and Ocean Springs; actually the whole Gulf Coast. Seller's market really means the seller has the advantage because there are not many homes available but there are lots of people trying to buy them. During this time a seller could charge almost anything they wanted to charge for their house and many of them did. Unfortunately that left many people living in homes that aren't worth as much as they owe now; but that's a different subject all together. Today we find ourselves in much more of a Buyer's market, meaning that we now have way more homes than people buying them. Before homes would sell in a matter of days literally, now it's still a matter of days, about 140 of them to be precise. The average days on the market has dramatically increased. So as a buyer this is a good thing for you. You can negotiate a much better price and even some incentives like closing costs and home warranties to be provided by the seller. If you want to know more contact me, I love to help people.

2. Inspections and Disclosures: Sellers are required to provide you the buyer with a Seller's Disclosure." This tells you anything and everything that has happened to the house, that way you can make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase the home. This is a great tool but it CAN NOT take the place of a home inspection. A seller may provide you a disclosure and say everything in his house is fine but the electrical could be messed up, the roof could be about to bust, or whatever. Doesn't mean the seller intentionally mislead you, they may have just not known. Inspections are very important, I made this mistake on my first house and I'm still fixing things that could have been spotted by an inspector. But hey, I was uneducated and was taken advantage of by an investor. BE CAREFUL!! Get a Realtor if you don't know, for your sake guys.
3. Price: As a colleague always says; PRICE IS KING!! Don't over pay for a home. If you do, you will find yourself in a pickle when it comes time to move. This is especially true if you are military and will be moving in 3 years or so. Make sure you get the house at a fair price. Even Realtors can't predict the market, so we can't promise your house will appreciate or depreciate but we can help you get a fair price based on today's market.
I know this whole article has sounded like I'm trying to sell you on using Realtors, I'm not. I just want you to make good decisions, buy your house right, and live happily in your new home. If you don't know what you are doing, contact a professional. I'm an agent and I still ask questions everyday. There is A LOT to this real estate world and you can get burned really fast and really hard if you aren't careful. Hope this helps.
Blog Done. Carry On!!

Sergeant Real Estate vs Sargent Real Estate

It seems we have an imposter; a spy among us if you will!! It seems there is a real estate company in Maine called Sargent Real Estate, please do not confuse this company with me; Sergeant Real Estate. I am a person who works for Prudential Gardner Realtors, the #1 real estate company in southern Mississippi and Louisiana.

It seems this Sargent Real Estate company in Maine is a family owned business whose last name happens to be Sargent.

As a ending note, I don't want any of you other Realtors trying to use Sergeant Real Estate, or the word Sergeant period in connection with real estate, because it is trademarked by me.

Blog Done. Carry on!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

FHA 203K: rehab or update a home.

It's 7:30pm on day 5 of your house hunt. You and you're Realtor have looked at 25 houses already. You've been everywhere from Gulfport, to Biloxi, to Ocean Springs and yet you can't find the right house for you. None of them say to you, "I want this to be my home." Well, there was that one on day 2, your remember right, the one behind the Wal-Mart in Ocean Springs that was perfect, that is, except for that kitchen. Man that kitchen sucked didn't it??!! But you loved the rest of that house, oh and your husband liked that work shed in the back yard, not that it really mattered that much to YOU did it, but you pretended like it did. Oh, what about that one in Biloxi, the one that didn't have the garage but you loved the rest of it and man what a great price it was. Now you've looked at home after home since those and not one of them have you liked. You can tell your Realtor is getting frustrated because they've started asking for gas money from you. So what do you do now? Just give up and settle for a house you don't like? Find a new Realtor? You can't have it all so you just have to choose the one that gives you the most of what you are looking for. Well, a lot of times these are the answers but it doesn't have to be. Not any more though!!

SO my new friend... sit back, while Sergeant Real Estate shoots some knowledge up your tail pipe!! Now, what if I said you to my friend, "friend I know a way you can buy that cute little house behind that Ocean Springs Wal-Mart and fix that kitchen too." Oh, and it would cost you next to nothing. Would you want to know how? Did you're Realtor know how? Oh did they just say, "well, we'll just keep looking." Good thing you dropped by site for some education.

There is this nifty little program called 203k which is offered by by FHA. This type of loan allows you buy a home and finance the rehabs all in one. You can do everything from just repainting the house to added a 4th bedroom. There really are only very few catches, it has to be a home you intend to live in and your after repair value can't exceed the loan amount. Other than that, it's fair game!! Oh!! And you can even use this type of loan as a refinance to fix up that house you live in now.

So does this sound interesting to you? To you want to go back and buy that house in Ocean Springs or the one in Biloxi that you loved? Are you not quit sure exactly what you need to do though? Give Sergeant Real Estate a call, or have your Realtor call me, and I'll help you out. I know the experts in this area and they can walk you through the process.

Now get out there and make your house your dream home.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Go to war!! Buy a home!!

1. Identify the objective- If you're in a war zone you can't just run around aimlessly, you must know what it is you're trying to accomplish. And then you most be able to locate the specific area that requires the use of your tactics in order to accomplished the desired results. In war on home finding it is no different. You must locate an area you feel will help you accomplish your mission; in this case, provide a good home for you and your family. The most obvious thing people are first attracted to is the house itself. A neighborhood will generally have homes of the same age and style. So if you have located an area you feel meets your housing desires, you need to move onto the next step.

2. Gather intel- Once you've said "boy, I love that house," you need to do some research on the area the house is in, as well as the house itself. You should ask yourself, and have answered, these type of questions:

Where will the kids go to school? How far away is it?

Where are the things I need/want? Wal-Mart is a big one on everyones list these days.

How far am I from work? How far is my spouse?

Is the house worth the price?

What's the market around here? Will the house sell when I'm ready to move?

Do I need to consult a Realtor?

Which leads me into my next point.

3. Call for fire support- One thing all Marines are taught is to know when to fight and when to call for the bigger guns. While my M-16A2 may work really well on insurgents, it really has no effect on a tank. Know when to say you need help.

If you are new in town you have to face the fact that you just don't know the area. Don't be so full of pride that you can't ask for help. Usually a Realtor works for a buyer free of charge. Everybody loves free right? It's a heck of a deal. Do you know any doctors that will give you a free transplant? I don't. Realtors offer so much help and guidance when buying homes. Not to mention they have access to programs and services that can drastically cut down your search time. Use them. Seriously.

Realtors also help with my next point.

4. Remain camouflaged- In combat rule #1 is don't be seen by the enemy. If they don't know you are there, they can't defend against you. And even better they can not identify any possible weaknesses you may have, which means they can not exploit them.

When it comes to buying a home, never under estimate your enemy (the seller). They may seem to be the most friendly person you've ever met but remember, they are trying to sell there house and put as much money in their pocket as possible. There are so many things you could say to them, just through the course of normal conversation, that could drastically damage your bargaining position. By using a Realtor you are given the privilege of having a trained professional do your bargaining for you. They make sure those specifics of your life and financial situations, which may be bad for your position in the transaction, are kept secret. Once again, a Realtor can be a very valuable asset to you.

Finally we come to #5.

5. Ensure you have a proper exit strategy- No one ever plans an attack on a target and then stop with the target being eliminated. There is always a plan to get back home, move to the next objective, or whatever. Real estate is no different.

When you buy a house you should say to yourself, "self, when it comes time to sell, will this house sell easily?" When you buy the house and you notice things that are a turn off to you guess what? They will be a turn off to any potential buyers in the future when you go to sell. That busy street that's only 20 ft out the front door, or the fact the house doesn't have any covered parking, or it's 45 minutes from the nearest Wal-Mart, all of these things will be potential deal breakers in the future. Just food for thought.

I would like to leave you with one last thing. Although I do recommend using a Realtor such as Sergeant Real Estate (sorry had to plug myself), you can buy a home on your own. People do it all the time. Just make sure you do the research and make the right choices. Good luck and I hope this helps you.

Blog Done. Carry On!!