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!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Real Estate Market crashes in Biloxi and Ocean Springs!!

"Ocean Springs and Biloxi real estate market is taking a dive!!" At least that's what I keep hearing. Seems like everywhere I go I hear people are saying "the market's going down." I just don't see it. Now true, the market did take a HUGH spike after Katrina worked her magic, as my illustration shows. And some homes were sold for way more than they were worth because of the low availability and high demand for housing. Some people were taking advantage of and may realize now that their house isn't worth what they paid. Now it is true that the market has slowed down. Home's don't sell in 30 minutes of listing as they once did. But the market still averages somewhere around 90 days to sell your home. But prices are still increasing at a rather nice appreciation curve. So, if you are worried about the market here, I say, don't be. Everything is alright. But hey, that's my opinion.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Don't use new Realtors!! Why should you?

Do you recognize this man? If not you probably live under a rock, or possible inside one. Can you believe that there was a time when even this guy was new to the game? Yet, NOBODY wants to give the new guy a chance. What do you think would have happened if no one gave "The Donald" a chance? A lot of people would have missed out on A LOT of money. See the thing is experience doesn't build creative thought, thinking outside the box, or how to look at things in a new way. It just builds repetition, that's it. So why do so many people refuse to use a new Realtor? Why? Because they just don't know what they are doing right??!! It's that simple!! Or is it? Ask yourself this, who is more creative and motivated, the new guy or the guy that has been doing this for 20yrs? Who do you think is actually going to work harder for you and really earn your business? My money is on the new guy.
But wait it's not that simple either. See, a lot of people new to a profession, whether it be real estate or auto mechanic, think they know it all. That's a fatal mistake, these guys will get you in trouble. You have to be educated yes, but you also have to be responsible and intelligent enough to realize you don't know everything. No one does. Especially in this game of real estate, laws and guidelines change everyday. Which is why sometimes the ones that make the biggest mistakes are the ones who have been around the longest because they feel like they do know it all.
I'll share a personal experience with you. On my very first deal as a sellers agent I was in negotiations with a buyers agent that had been doing real estate for 20yrs. Naturally you would think that the senior agent had the upper hand in negotiation right? Wrong! Not only did I negotiate a better deal for my client, the other agent made a fatal mistake they could have potentially cost her client thousands and thousands of dollars. Why did she make this mistake? I honestly don't know. But I do know that I was educated to catch the mistake.
Anyway, I'll let you be for now as I don't want to take up too much of your time today. But in closing I ask you to remember this; experience is great but I'll take motivation and action any day over blind experience.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New listing in Gulf Park Estates!!!

Are you looking for the right house at the right price? Well look no further!! I just listed a beautiful home in Gulf Park Estates in Ocean Springs MS. It's close to everything in Ocean Springs. Minutes from schools, food, and yes even Wal-Mart. For full listing details check my website at And when you're ready to see it, give the Sarge a call. Take care!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sorry for being gone!!

Sorry I've been a little distant lately guys. My Internet has been on the fritz for a long time. Thanks a lot CABLEONE!!! Sorry b--t--s!! Excuse me eluding to vulgar language. But I'm back now. For how long, who knows?

Monday, April 9, 2007

The 2 most important things to ask for when buying a home.

What is the most important thing to ask for when buying a home? Is it a loan? The interest rate? The terms of the loan? What school's will your kids attend? Well I guess it's really a matter of opinion, but here's my opinion and the why. I actually have 2 things.

First, get the sellers disclosure. This nice little piece of paper is a legally binding document from the seller, not their agent, given to you. This tells you everything about the history of the home and the best part is if the seller lies on it you can sue him or her. Everyone seems to love suing anybody for anything these days. Here's your chance. This tells you things like; did the home flood; are you in a flood zone; ever had termites; etc. A very valuable piece of paper. And remember, no Realtor is allowed to touch, as far as filling it out goes, this which means you get it straight from the sellers own written hand. If you're buying make sure you ask for it. And for Pete's sake, if you're selling make sure you fill one out. It's the law.

Second, Get a home inspection done by a professional. Just so we understand each other, I'll say it one more time and speak slower, louder, and more clearly ( I do tend to mumble at times), because it's very important. GET...A...HOME...INSPECTION...DONE...BY...A... PROFESSIONAL. This can save you thousands of dollars in later repairs, purchase price, closing costs, etc, etc, etc. GET ONE!! Basically a home inspection verifies everything the seller told you on his "sellers disclosure" form. Usually around 10-15 days before closing a home inspection should be performed. But no more than 30 days.

Well there's a little more real estate knowledge for you. Hope it helps you out. If you got questions, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mississippi Bond Program!! Talk about a GREAT DEAL!!

Man!! Do you wanna hear about the sweetest deal in Mississippi? Well sit back and let me drop a little knowledge on you.

Mississippi has a program called the "Mississippi Bond Program" that actually gives you money for a down payment to buy a house. Now how awesome is that? They will actually give you 3% of the purchase price, up to $200,000, to use as a down payment to purchase your new home. Now, the even cooler part. It can be used in conjuction with a FHA loan which only requires 3% down payment and they allow you to finance the remaining 97%. Do the math folks!! If they allow you to finance 97% and the bond gives you 3% that equals 100%. That's right!! You have to pay exactly 0% to buy a home; aside from any closing costs you are required to pay according to your negotiation with the sellers.

But wait, there's more. The program had a fixed interest rate of 5.78%, but it just got better. They lowered the rate to 5.4%. I'll say that again in case we didn't understand the first time, no offense of course. You get a 5.4% fixed interest rate for 30 years, 3% down payment GRANT given to you and you can finance the remaining balance. Now, I'm no mortgage broker, which I will never claim to be, but I don't know of ANY program that can top that offer, not even VA. Call your local broker and ask them about it, it's one sweet deal. And when you're ready to buy that house call me, Sergeant Real Estate.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What's up with sub-prime loans?

Do I need a sub-prime loan? Will I still be able to buy a house? Are these questions you've been asking yourself?

Did you see the heart attack the stock market experienced last month around subprime loan problems? So many people, including myself before, sat there staring at the TV wondering, "what is a sub-prime loan?" The answer is very simple, it's a loan other than prime. "WOW! Thanks for the tip Sarge!!" I know, I know, it sounded like a rather dumb answer huh? Well, sub-prime loans are given to folks that don't qualify for a prime loan. People who have bad credit, or maybe not very good credit, people who don't have money for down payments, etc. A lot of times these loans are made to people who shouldn't really have a home loan. Many more sub-prime loans go into default than prime loans. Because of this sub-prime lenders usually have higher marketing costs due to unaccepted applications, defaults, etc. Sub-prime loans usually come with higher interest rates, fee's, and expenses when closing on such a loan to help the lender recoup some of it's losses.

Unfortunately too many sub-prime loans have went into default lately which has caused an accordion effect throughout the stock markets sub-prime lenders. Causing some of them to even stop taking applications and possibly looking at future bankruptcy. This caused a ripple effect in the mortgage lending community and even got the federal reserves attention. Some experts believe that the fed will lower interest rates in the future. Which means, if they lower rates on the money they loan banks then banks can lower rates on the money they loan us. In short, it's a good thing for those of us who don't have sub-prime loan problems.

So will the sub-prime loan crisis affect you getting a loan? Yea, a little bit. The loan requirements are becoming more stringent on the mortgage brokers and banks alike. But if you have good credit and qualified for a prime loan before you should be ok now. But please, don't take my word for it, consult an expert in the mortgage field. I'm a Realtor remember?

As a side note before I leave you; do you think when you buy a house it's really yours? If so, try and not make, say about, 3 payments, then see who really owns the house? Not you! The mortgage company. Don't' know what that has to do with anything here but I just wanted to share that.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Driving 101 for Mississppians!!

Why is it that people in Mississippi just don't seem to understand traffic signals and laws? In short, why can't they drive? I'm sure I'll step on the nerves of a few with this blog but at the same time I'm sure anyone who lives here will agree with me. So without further ado, let me begin my class on how to follow traffic signals, some laws, and just ole plan courtesy to other drivers.

This first part is going to be just a bunch of questions because I don't really have any answers for why people do these things.

Why do people stop at yield signs, but not at stop signs? Why do people slow down when approaching a green light as if they anticipate it may one day turn yellow? Why do they try to merge on the interstate at 35 mph? Why do that not use the merge lanes provided throughout the city? Instead they rather stop and wait for all traffic to stop moving. Why do people stop at blinking caution lights, but not blinking red ones? Since when is it ok for two people to ride side by side on a four lane road at 15mph below the speed limit? By the way, if I'm behind you and you do this, I won't hesitate to use the turning lane to pass you. I think you should get the ticket for impeding traffic, not me for passing illegally. Of course any cop wouldn't agree with me. Show some courtesy to the other drivers and move into the "I like to drive slow lane." Why do people who drive slow speed up when you try to pass them? Chances are I'm going to drive faster than you, let me pass. And why do they speed up and follow you once you do pass them? You wanted to drive slow before, don't try to use me as your blocker. If you do this to me on the interstate, trust me, we will be driving really fast. I won't hesitate to do well over a 100mph to get you to stop following me. And hey, if a cop does clock me, he's going to see you right behind me and pull us both over. It won't be my first speeding ticket, probably not my last either. Why does everyone slow down to 60 mph on I-10 between exit the I-110 and exit 50 for Ocean Springs? Who are these people who do these things? Everyone I talk to about this complains about the same things. How can everyone complain about? Then who is actually doing it?
Now some actual tips.

A blinking caution light means proceed with caution, NOT STOP!!
A blinking red light DOES MEAN STOP!!!
If a light is green do not slow down because you think it may turn yellow sometime today.
If you notice you are driving the same speed as the person next to you and there are people behind you, MOVE INTO THE SLOW LANE!!!
Use merging lanes to MERGE, not stop and look at traffic!!
When you enter an on ramp to get on the interstate, speed up to interstate speeds so you can merge properly, THATS WHY THE ON RAMPS ARE SO LONG!!!
I'm done for now. I'm sure someone will bash me, some will have more to ad. But at least I feel better since I got to vent. Take care.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Why should I buy a house? Let me explain!!!

So you've finally reached that point in your life have you? That point were you're debating on buying a house, but you're not quite sure why you should? I'd first like to commend you on your wise choice, you will not regret it I assure you. So why should you buy a house? I sometimes like to answer questions with questions. So my question to you is, would you take your hard earned money and do like my friend here is doing? Of course not!! What you may not realize however is this is exactly what you are doing when you rent a home or apartment.

Do you ever feel like you go to work just to pay bills? You're stuck in the rat race that life has taught you is normal. You go to work, make money, and pay your bills, that's what we are taught in school. And usually our parents tell us, you're young, have fun. Yea that's great, but how about someone teach us how to use our money? I use to think my problem was not making enough money, I learned it was how I spent the money I made, that was my problem. And one of the biggest positive turns I made was to stop renting and buy my own house. I know we are taught as children and young adults that owning a house is for the rich or whatever it is people say that makes you think it is some unobtainable goal. I assure you it isn't. But what are you really doing when you rent a home? Let's explore that.

For rent? Good for me, bad for you! Why? When you rent a home you are actually making some Real Estate Investor a lot of money. If you don't understand how rent works let me briefly explain. Basically some Real Estate Investor somewhere has decided that he needs to make X amount of money every month on the home you rent in order to actually make a profit. That X amount is your rent. So what does your rent actually do? Well it pays for the mortgage payment on the house, taxes, insurance, maintenance fee, management, etc, while still leaving money left over to put money in his pocket every month. At least that is what should be happening if it's a smart investor. That's the whole point of investing, to make money. I know because I too have investment properties. When you moved in your probably had to pay a pretty healthy security deposit didn't you? Oh, and first months rent right? Do you realize that for that amount you could have probably paid your closing costs on purchasing a new home? But we want get into all the particulars of buying a home today, we are just concerned with why to buy? So on top of paying all this money you also had to sign a lease with the landlord that said what you can and can not do in the home. Great!!!! You just paid someone to tell you how to live. Congratulations!!
Okay, now why should you buy? Well you can actually buy a home for much less a month, normally, than you can rent a house for; remember, those guys you rent from have all the fees they have to make sure are paid. As a home buyer you wouldn't have to worry about management and miscellaneous fees. But of course you do have to pay for taxes, insurance, and the mortgage of course. But the beauty is, you pay less a month for the same quality of living you had before, and maybe even better, and it's yours to do with as you wish. If you want to put a fence up, go ahead!! Don't like that wall in the kitchen, knock it down!! It's yours. Think the master bedroom would look much better if it were purple and green, I don't happen to agree, but go ahead paint it!!! The point is, it's yours. And another great thing about owning a home is appreciation. That means that the home goes up in value every year so when you do decide to move, you don't just give the landlord his keys back, you sell and put money in your pocket. Now how great is that?
Please remember, there are many things to consider when purchasing a home so do yourself a favor and contact a good Realtor to help you through the process. Especially if it's your first home purchase. Take care and good luck out there!

The Sarge's Home Buying Quick Guide.

So you've decided to buy a home have you? Great idea! Just don't be like my lady friend here and blow it out your..... you know. In order to help you I've decided to take the time to give you some advice on what to look for. Of course there will inevitably be things I forget to mention so, all my Realtor buddies out there please feel free to comment and leave other advise for the readers. Thanks. Let's begin.

These are in no particular order with the exception of the first one.

1) Hire a Realtor- Seriously folks, this is without a doubt the best piece of advice I can give you. These people do nothing all day but study the market, stay current on home values, and help people find the perfect home for them. When you arm's broke you go to the doctor right? When your car breaks down you go see a mechanic? And when you're buying a home you go see a Realtor. It should be that easy.

But wait, you would rather find the home yourself than pay a Realtor to help you right? Wait this just in!! We now send it to Jimmy a Realtor in Another Place, MS with a breaking story. What do you have for the folks at home Jimmy? Well Mister and Misses home buyer, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY THE REALTOR!! They work for you for free!! Back to you Sarge. Thanks Jimmy.

Well folks this is usually the case because we make the seller pay us the commission. Ah, but you are still too good for all that. You know the market, you seen 3 houses sell in your neighborhood since you started rented that house in 1995. You know all about real estate. You don't need no stinkin Realtor to help you? I know me personally I wouldn't hire a Realtor if I was buying a home here in Biloxi or Ocean Springs; wait, that's because I am a Realtor here in Biloxi and Ocean Springs. How about I just tell you what you need to look for.

First off, if you are looking for a home on your own chances are you are trying to exploit the for-sale-by-owner group. I warn you to be careful. There are two main types of people who use FSBO signs. The first, novice home sellers who think they can save a buck by not using a Realtor. This people usually have no idea what the heck they are doing so I hope you do. Second and the most dangerous is the Real Estate Investor. I assure you, these people no exactly what they are doing and they will screw you over by any means necessary to put another dollar in their pocket. Be careful.

But you are still not convinced to hire a Realtor so let's try to educate you and hopefully save you some heartache.

1) Get Pre-approved- Well if you are going to tackle this on your own I would definitely suggest first knowing how much home can you afford. Go talk to a local bank or broker and get pre-qaulified for a home loan. This way you will know exactly what price range to look in. You could literally wastes weeks of your free time finding the perfect home only to find you can't afford it. That can be extremely frustrating. Talk to a professional who can help you understand the expenses of home ownership such as principle, interest, taxes, and insurance. Believe you me, insurance can be a back breaker on the Gulf Coast.

2) Location, location, LOCATION!!!!- Where do you feel comfortable living? Do you know the area? I can't tell you how many people I hear say things like " I wish I would have known about that area" or "I wish I would have realized how far away I was from everything when I bought this house," or " I love the house but I hate the bugs we have here all year round, I don't even like to walk outside." And believe me there are hundreds more things like this people say. Take time to think about the things that are important to you such as: the drive time to work; where's Wal-Mart, everyone has to be close to Wal-Mart right?; where will the kids attend school; etc. Believe me, no matter how much you like a home, if it's not in the right location you will end up resenting the fact you purchased it.

MAN!! Has anyone seen my soapbox?? I just put it down. Ah, there it is. Let me get back on this thing for a second. Can everyone see and hear me? Good. "If you would have hired a Realtor they probably could have helped you with this!!" Ok, I'm done.

3) Sellers disclosure- As a Marine Instructor there is one rule we all follow, Students lie!! As a home buyer you need to know the same is true of sellers.

By the way, do you like the thumbs down guy? He has no real relevance here, but I think he's pretty cool. What do you think? Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

Make sure the seller gives you one of these; they probably have no idea what it is. This is a little piece of paper that tells you, the potential buyer, everything that is pertinent to the home. How old it is. How it's constructed. Any damages such as flood or hurricane. Things that stay with the home when sold. Things that don't stay. And other very important information you need to know. It's also the law that they provide this to you and the seller can be sued if they intentionally lied to you to help sell their home to you.

4) Home Inspection- This is the last thing I'll leave you with.The reason being is I could make a book, not a blog, on buying a home. In fact there is one. If you forget to do everything else during the buying process, do not forget this step. Have the home inspected by a professional. This could save you thousands in home repairs after you purchase.

In summary, buying a home isn't child's play. Do your research. Make buying your home a great experience and avoid the possible nightmare. If all else fails and you realize it's more than you thought it was, hire yourself a good Realtor to help you out. Good luck.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cut the commission off the top and sell FSBO!!!

WOW!!! I actually had this conversation today, with a professional man none the less. He actually said to me, "ah, if I sell I'll just do for sale by owner and cut the 6% commission of my asking price." HUH?? WH?? HOW??? ,...... huh??? Now in what universe does this make sense? (if you know please immediately dial 228 238 7138 and explain.) I was, excuse the slag here, bamboozled. (serious head scratching going on, slight brain overload) So I asked him a simple question. What would be the advantage of not hiring a Realtor then? He says, "well, I think you guys make too much money." Okay. My next question. What is your marketing plan? How would you advertise your house? "You know, probably throw a FSBO sign in the front yard, maybe run an ad in the paper." I then proceeded to explain to him how home buyers love to use Realtors, you know, because they don't actually have to pay the Realtor, the seller does. And most people have enough common sense to realize they don't know as much about real estate as they need to know in order to make an informed decision on a home purchase. Therefore, about 90% (a # I pulled out of thin air, I have no proof to back that) of buyers are working with Realtors. So by cutting your asking price in order to "cut-out" the Realtor fees, you really cut out a LARGE number of potential buyers. He then continued to try to validate his position on why he was right and I was wrong. Some battles just aren't worth fighting. So I left him with my card and told him to call me when he needs help selling his home.
This guy just didn't get it. Do you? If not, call me. Let's talk about why a Realtor is important.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Pimp the government, use Section 8 to make YOU money!!

What's that you say? You don't believe you can? I say hogwash!! I do it every month and it works GRRRRRREATTTTT!!!! But everyone said, "avoid these people like the plague!!" But I know what you're thinking, my uncle Jim said "these people will destroy your house and break your wallet." He said " avoid them like the real estate plague, don't do it!!" You probably respond with "yea, you're right. I just need to do something different." And let's face it, he is the real estate expert, I mean, shoot, he owns 8-10..... wait.... no, he doesn't own any real estate investment homes does he? Instead of acting on your "bad" idea, you do nothing, go home, eat dinner and go to bed, wake up tomorrow and go to the same old job you hated yesterday. All because the real estate expert Uncle Jim said not to take a risk. I mean, let's be honest, he know's what he's talking about doesn't he; he's 68 and in 10 yrs, if everything goes according to his paln, he can retire. So ask yourself this; why are you listening to "the expert?"
Do you know?

Now of course Section 8 is nothing but low life people who do nothing but mess up everything, especially real estate, right? Wrong!!! Just like any other tenants in the world, some are good, some are bad. You just have to screen them properly. I have a tenant right now that I wouldn't trade for any other tenant out there. She keeps the house clean, takes care of the place, and pays me (her portion) on time every month. I'll take two more of her if I can find them.
So how do we make money fly out of the governments posterior orfice and into your bank account? It's SO easy. The first step is buying a real estate investment property. Now don't think you can go buy a $300k home and think you can rent it out for $6500 a month and make mad money. Sorry, real estate isn't quit that good, not when you're dealing with single family homes anyway. But what can you expect?
Section 8 bases their numbers off of fair market rent values in the area. So in Pascagoula its around $900-950 mth; Gautier $1050-1100; Ocean Springs $1100-1200. If you buy a real estate investment at a good price, you can put a little change in your pocket every month. The best thing is it's gauranteed money!!
If you want to know more, feel free to contact me.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Biloxi and Ocean Springs Real Estate.

Ok Biloxi, pull up a chair. You too Ocean Springs, grab a chair. Let's talk about everyone's favorite subject, MONEY!! Sit back and relax while I serve you up a nice dinner of "it's ok" when it comes to Biloxi and Ocean Springs real estate. Will finish the night with a delicious side of overall market analysis. How has Katrina affected housing prices? How much are houses in demand now? Has the market cooled off? What about the "real estate bubble" that has busted? It's all over the news. Shouldn't I be worried? These are a few of the questions we will address now.

It's true that in many areas of the country the housing market has slowed dramatically. Why is this? Well, it's because the value of real estate in these areas has been increasing too fast, drastically exceeding inflation rates. But in Biloxi and Ocean Springs this just it isn't so. Our housing market isn't drastically over inflated. So what does this mean for you? It means so can breathe a breath of fresh air. It's safe to buy a home here, you don't have to worry about the real estate bubble everyone is panicking over, you're not in an over inflated market. The only time we were even close was right after Katrina, when housing was so limited and those with money were willing to pay just about anything for a house. Now supply is good, prices are fair, and homes are selling. In February, there were around 70 or so homes sold in Biloxi and Ocean Springs alone.

Now the not so good news. Has the market cooled off a little? Sure it has. Why? Well it's a couple things. First, Katrina was a factor. Right after Katrina, if you wanted a house, you better have be in your car on the way to a house the minute it hit the market; believe me, if you weren't 12 other people were. Houses were moving like crack on the corner of "Tanked Ave" and "Stone Cr." The markets cooled a bit since then. A good, fair priced home, usually will sell within 60-90 days. The next factor is the time of year. Two things happened to real estate simultaneously here in Biloxi and Ocean Springs. The first was the cooling from Katrina. The second was the same thing that happens every year, Fall and Winter. It's just a fact of life that around these times the market cools. For one, who likes to shop when it's cold and gloomy outside? I don't. Unless of course Sergeant Real Estate is your agent and you like the cold. Another thing is school? I know what you're thinking, how does school affect home sales? It all really makes perfect sense. Who is the biggest buyer of homes? Families right? And what do families usually have? Kids! And where do kids go from Fall to Spring? School. So therefore a lot of families don't like to move during these times because it affects the kids.
In short, don't be worried about buying a house here. It's ok!
Blog Done. Carry On!!

Friday, March 2, 2007

What is real estate? Real property? Personal property?

So what is Real Estate? That's a fair question to ask. Well, real estate really is the piece of land you own and everything that is physically connected to it, whether natural or artificial. I think we all kinda knew that. But did you know that it doesn't just stop there? To be specific there are 4 types of rights that can be bought, sold, leased or transferred; Surface, Air, Subsurface, and Water. When you buy a piece of real estate you own the land below, known as subsurface (mineral) rights, the air above your real estate, known as air rights, and some of the water touching your property. But sometimes you may not own these, it really depends on what the deed to your house says. Some of the reasons maybe things like; BP owns the rights to the oil under your home. And believe me, if you're thinking you can just go tell planes to stop flying over your house at 30,000 ft because you don't like the little cloud it leaves behind, think again. The government beat you to it, they say if it doesn't interfere with your bundle of legal rights (which we will discuss in a second) then it's ok for them to use the air space.

So what is real property? Well it's anything physically attached to the land? I know what you're thinking, isn't that real estate? Ah ha my fine man, you're quick. Yes often times the two words are used interchangeably. But let's be a little more specific on this one. Real property is all the things physically attached to your real estate plus your bundle of legal rights. Then naturally the next question is, what is this bundle of legal rights? Let's take a look.

1) Right of Possession- pretty much you own the property and are allowed to occupy it.

2) Right to Control the property in any manner you see fit, as long as you don't break laws. You can pretty much do anything you want to your house as long as you don't break laws; like you can't turn it into an ice cream parlor because that breaks zoning laws.

3) Right of Enjoyment- use the property in any manner which is still legal. No you can't turn your new home into this years biggest crystal meth lab. Sorry!!

4) Right of Exclusion- this means if you don't like me, you have the right to tell me to stay of your land. But you can't go shooting at me just because I knocked on your door.

5) Right of Disposition- basically this means you have the right to dispose of the property in anyway you see fit. You can sell it, will it, sell some of the rights, etc.

Okay, now let's look at some example of real property. The most obvious of these is the home itself. If you have a shed in the back, it's real property. The cabinets you put in last year, that's real property cuz it's physically attached to the home. That seems like a no brainer too, but believe me, people have tried to take their cherry oak cabinets with them. You laugh, it's true. Remember that antic crystal chandelier you got from your late grandma, you know the one hanging in the foyer, that's real property too now. So whats not real property? That fridge of yours that slides out easily, it's not real property because it's easily removable. The trees in the backyard, real estate. You're TV, not real estate, you kinda get the picture now?

So what's personal property? How does it differ from real property? It's anything that would transfer with you if you left the house. Your car, your bed, your food, anything that isn't physically attached. Remember that chandelier, the one that was real property. What happens to it if you take the down? Now it becomes personal property, pretty cool huh? What about that 100 acres of trees in the back yard. They were real property. What happens when you cut them down? Now they are personal property and you can do anything with them you want. In the real estate world we call this severance.

Let's look at the flip side. Let's imagine you've decided to put down a drive way in your yard. So first you go down to the local home supply store and buy cement to put down the drive way. By the way, as a side note, why do we park on a drive way and drive on a park way? I just don't get it. Anyway, I digress. Now I think we can all agree now that the cement is personal property but guess what it becomes when you lay the drive way down? That's right, real property. In real estate we call this annexation.

Well this concludes today's lesson.

Blog done. Carry on!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Marine Guide to Home Selling

Alright, listen up maggots!! Cuz I’m only gonna say this once. You say you want my advice on selling your Biloxi or Ocean Springs home? You think you’re ready for it? We’ll see. Carry on to your Real Estate selling boot camp.

You have questions? Oh, you think you’re entitled to them? You want answers? Of course not, you want the truth. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!! Son (or daughter for those PC people) were live in a market where there are many homes! And those homes have to be sold by people with knowledge. Who’s going to sell them? You! You Mr. FSBO? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep cuz you want to save the commission and you curse the Realtors. You have that luxury. You also have the unfortunate “luxury” of not knowing what I know. Paying a commission, while tragic, probably will save you money. Using a realtor, while grotesque to you, probably saves you money! You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want to use a Realtor, you need to use a Realtor! We use words like code, fiduciary responsibilities, and ethics. We use these words as the backbone of our lives spent learning our trade. You use them as punch lines! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain my craft to a person (PC) who tries to save a dollar by trying to learn my craft and then complains about the manner in which I explain it. I would rather you just left a comment, said thank you for the advice and went about your way. Either way, I don’t give a darn what you think you’re entitled to. (A Few Good Men parody in case your were unsure)

While that little bit was amusing I’m sure you are seeking some true content. So hear goes. The Marine Guide to Home Selling for Biloxi and Ocean Springs Real Estate.

1) Press out your uniform- What’s the most memorable moment of any meeting? It’s the first impression. When a home buyer drives up to your nice piece of Biloxi real estate it should present an overall neat appearance. The house should be clean on the outside, if you’re house is white with hints of green, chances are those green accents aren’t a fashion statement. PRESSURE WASH YOUR HOUSE!!

2) A Fresh Hair Cut- I’ve never heard anyone, a home buyer or just personal friend, say, “you know David, I just love an overgrown yard.” Signs that it may be time to cut your grass or trim your hedges are things such as: while standing at the front door you can not accurately locate your mailbox; if you walk across your yard and the grass tickles your elbows; if it rains and your ground doesn’t get wet, these are all signs that it may be time to give the yard some TLC. Don’t forget to edge around those ears (sidewalks) also.

3) A clean shave- Take down the thirteen clocks you have on your kitchen wall. You may find it to be quite the display, others see it as an eyesore they can’t seem to look paste. And besides, are you so bad with telling time that you need 13 different birds to tell you the time every 15 minutes. Try to take you out of the house so the potential buyer can imagine themselves in the home. I know you love all the pictures of the yearly families escapades, but you want to allow the buyer to visualize they will be hanging their own memories on the walls. Not wondering what you did on your vacation. Not to say everyone will mind, but remember, we are trying to appeal to the masses.

4) Shine your boots- Let’s take a walk down the sidewalk of imagination. A business man walks up to you; he’s wearing a $1500 dollar Versace suit, I mean crisp, clean, press out, smelling good, everything. Can you picture this guy? Yea, that’s right, he’s the smooth character and all the ladies want him. That’s what you’re thinking. Then you look at his shoes and he’s got on some beat up old Nike’s. Now what are you thinking? You’re mind went straight to, what the heck is up with this guy? You just forgot about the rest of the package didn’t you? Same thing happens when a buyer walks into your house. You had them up until they saw your beat up carpet. By the way, is there even a vacuum cleaner in the same zip code as this rug? WOW!! And no, busted or broken hard wood floors doesn’t give anyone a nostalgia feeling.

5) Proper hygiene- Nothing at all is worse than talking to the guy at the office that drinks coffee all day and smokes like a chimney. You know who I’m talking about? Every office has one and he’s usually the guy that always likes to get really close so he can whisper some secret message to you. If you don’t know who this guy is ask yourself these questions? Do I smoke? Do I drink coffee? Am I that guy? If you answered yes to the first two, then the 3rd question is a yes also. Sorry man. Grab a tic tac, it’ll be fine. Anyway, let’s relate this to homes. Odors kill offers!! If it stinks like a pig, I’m sure you can fill in the rest. Make it smell good. And for my last tip today.

6) IF you’re 6’4 you don’t wear a small- In no way is a California King Size Bed ever appropriate for a 10 x 10 bedroom. On no planet, no market, no time!! Decorate and accommodate your rooms with an arrangement of furniture that makes it appear open and spacious. We’ll leave that at that.

So you wanted the truth? Well there you have it.

Blog Done. Carry On!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Biloxi and Ocean Springs MS "For Sale By Owner" Tips.

"I just don't understand why my home won't sell!!" were the words cried out by this home owner. I say "is there a home somewhere in that yard?? Hello!!" Did you ever think to trim your bushes and possibly cut your grass? Now I know I'm a Staff Sergeant in the military but today and today only I will play the part of a Captain. Please call me Captain Obvious? Now I recently wrote an article on how to market your home. But how do you get people to submit an offer once they do make it your house? Read on!!

TIP #1- Clean your yard. Trim the hedges, cut the grass, make a flower garden around the front of the house. Basically look at what this guy did, and then do the total opposite!! Natural is so 70's. Now in the Real Estate business we have a fancy term which only those in the business know about, but I'm gonna tell you. Come closer, I don't want anyone else to hear me because I could be drawn and quartered. It's called CURB APPEAL FOLKS!! How can you get people to buy your house if they don't even want to step foot inside it? Believe me, there are FAR too many nice homes with well trimmed yards in Biloxi and Ocean Springs. Now Capt. Obvious doesn't want to discourage you, but if your home looks like the home in the picture you may want to wear bullet proof vests from now on; you will be receiving a lot of future drive-bys!! Plant some decorative plants in the yard, FYI 20ft bushes covering the entire front of the home are not what I'm talking about. I can not invasive enough how important curb appeal is and for less than $200 dollars you can give your house plenty of it. CLEAN YOUR YARD!!

TIP #2- "Dude, that was a killer party last night! I can't believe how trashed my house got." Famous last words of a lost sale. Clean and organize the inside of the house. Would you buy a car that was covered in the unused portions of a canary's diet? Then why
would you think anyone would buy your house when the kitchen looked like the picture to the right? Who in their right mind would want to buy a house that's been neglected for years and years? I beat these people don't even perform proper maintenance and up keep on the home. Believe me, that's the impression your putting in the minds of the potential buyer; well they were a potential buyer. You better hope they don't have friends looking to buy too. Guess whose home won't get a reference. That's right yours! I don't care how nice your home really is, all those buyers see, and think, is this "this house is disgusting; I would never want to live here."

TIP #3- Organize!! I'll say it again, ORGANIZE your house. Yes it's true. It does take a great deal of planning and foresight to make your 14x14 living room accommodate your 3 couches and 2 love seats. And yes I know, it was the crowning moment in your life when you made the impossible, possible by accomplishing such a feat. Guess what your potential buyer thinks? Can you guess what it is? "This house is way too small for me!!" Did you guess that was what they were thinking? I hope you did. (If you didn't, maybe you should think about hiring an expert to assist you in your sell, just a thought.)Now if you want to sell this house you need to make it look as spacious as possible. It should look lived in yes, but it shouldn't look like all 65 boys from last summers boy scout camp live there.

FINALLY!!! PRICE YOUR HOME CORRECTLY!!! If you want to sell it, you better know what it's worth. Now let us consider the facts. You're selling one house, that's it. How many homes do buyers look at before they buy? Lots!! So who do you think knows more about how much your home is worth? You guess it, probably them. (Plus they may have a buyers agent working for them. Those Realtors are pesky little creatures aren't they?)If you don't know what your home is worth, you better high someone who does. These are mythical creatures known only to exist in fairy tales, but I'll share another secret with you. Once again I must be very cautious, so please come close again? THERE CALLED REALTORS!!! ( That's 2 for Capt Obvious!!) Just because your moms, ex- husbands, younger sisters, ex-boyfriends, mom sold her house for $300, 000 in up state New York doesn't mean your Biloxi or Ocean Springs home is worth that. PRICE YOUR HOME CORRECTLY!!! Did I say that already?

Now get out there and sell your home!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Marketing Tips for Biloxi Ocean Springs Real Estate

People always want to know what makes a Realtor worth the commission they earn? Do you wonder the same thing too? Well when it comes to helping you sell your home it all boils down to marketing. I bet you would love some free marketing tips huh? Sure you would, who wouldn't right? So here are some for you!

1) Cable TV advertising- this works really well for Biloxi and Ocean Springs Real Estate. The reason why is because many people know channel 13 shows homes for sale all day long. Its a great way to advertise your real estate for sale in Biloxi and Ocean Springs. Here's where it gets tricky though, do you know who to call? Do you know what to say to promote your home correctly? Or better yet, what not to say? Is it worth your money if it doesn't bring in the buyers? Of course it isn't!! But I bet a trained real estate professional would know what key words to use to bring buyers to your home. But hey, you want to save money buy not using a Realtor. By the way, you may get 3 of 4 calls if you're lucky. Notice I said calls, not viewing. Huge difference!!

2) Newspaper ads- These are really a great way of letting a seller know you are actively advertising their home, other than that, they are almost useless. But just because they are useless doesn't make them cheap; if memory serves me right, it's about $25 dollars a day to run an add in the Sunherald. Oh and it's an extra $100 dollars to run it online at And remember, if the real estate your trying to sell is in Biloxi or Ocean Springs, you're probably just throwing your money away, atleast in the paper anyway. Oh yeah, and there's that little business about knowing what to say in your ad again. Boy, marketing can be really difficult if you don't quite know what to say, or not say for that matter. You may get 2 or so phone calls if your lucky and run it for a month straight. Think about it, did you look in the paper to find this info? Who does anymore? It's all about the Internet today. Which brings me to the more powerful marketing tips.

3) Multiple Listing Service- Now this is one of the most powerful methods of advertising. Why you ask? Well I'm glad you asked that question, here's why! Because the MLS is your link to every other Realtor in the area. All you have to do is be a Realtor with access and magically hundreds of local Realtors know you're home is for sale now. So plan your real estate sell well in advance so you can attend the necessary schooling to get qualified to take your test, that's right, you have to pass a pre-licensing course before they even allow you to take the test to get your license. And then guess where you get to go to take your test? Not Biloxi or Ocean Springs, not even near by Pascagoula, nope, you get to drive all the way to Jackson. I'm sure your asking, why is it so important other Realtors know that my house is for sale? Think about it, buyers, that's right BUYERS, love to use Realtors. That means Realtors bring you potential buyers and lots of them. Maybe you spotted a nice piece of land in Ocean Springs and you and your spouse have your master real estate design all planned out, it's the home of your dreams! But you've gotta sell that home in Biloxi first. Wow!! You just missed out on an EXTREMELY powerful tool.

4) Website exposure (aka Internet)- Now you want to hope on the technology bandwagon, you realized the paper wasn't all it was cracked up to be. But how do you market your home on the net? I can hear the pleads now, "help me Sergeant Real Estate, I want my home sold so I can carry on!!" OK, here's what you do. You spend countless hours researching websites that service residential real estate websites in the Biloxi and Ocean Springs area. Then you decide which one is best for you. You pay them a small advertising fee, I'm sure it will be minimal so don't worry too much about it. And presto, now your home is on one of the billions of website
online. Now you have a static website advertising your home for you. That's all there is to it. Now when someone who is looking exactly for your type of home happens to come across this website, which by the way they were linked to by mere chance by results from a search engine, they can call you and possibly be a potential buyer. Or.... you could use a Realtor who already knows the best sites to put your home on, that's right sites, as in the plural version of site meaning multiple. Sites which actually draw traffic to them. And your Realtor should have his own site which they advertise Biloxi and Ocean Springs real estate for sale. One of which will be your home. A place like or, my brother out of Tampa Florida.

Well that's enough real estate marketing tips for today. If you're planning to sell real estate in the Biloxi or Ocean Springs area, I hope you found this article helpful.

Blog Done. Carry On!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Investor Oppurtunities in Biloxi and Ocean Springs Mississipppi (MS)

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is quickly becoming a vacation getaway area. Investors and developers are begginning to build and develope the local areas into more of resort style community. Instead of new houses or apartments they are begginning to build condo's. Many housing areas that were apartments or hotels before are now condo's; and new developers are building condo's instead of apartments. This is becoming a resort area fast investors, even "The Donald" is planning a hotel and resort area for developement in the near future. I personally know of one deal being negotiated in which two hotels are being purchased for $10 million and converted into condo's. And this is from an investment company out of California. There's another projected that breaks ground next month called Bienville Quarters. For more info on that project check my previous blog on it.

I'm sure investors are wondering why I bring this up. The reason is this, as an investor you need someone who can not only help you locate property but also someone who can recognize the deals. Someone who knows and understands your goals and objectives. I also happen to be a Real Estate Investor in the local area and while not on as grand of a scale as the previously mentioned investments, I do understand the goals and objectives. Please feel free to contact me, I would love to help you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Great home selling tips

Hello all. I was reading a post on my brothers website and thought it would be great to share with anyone and everyone. These are great tips for selling your home. Check it out!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Why Sergeant Real Estate?

I was having a conversation today with my girlfriend. During this conversation we were discussing what makes Sergeant Real Estate different from any of the other 1300 Realtors throughout the Gulf Coast. She asked me the question; "why did you want to become a Realtor?" And without hesitation my response was, "I like helping people." That's when it really hit me, that's what makes Sergeant Real Estate (me) different from everyone else. Whether you are selling your home "for sale by owner" or through another Realtor, I'll still help you if you have questions. In the Military I am an instructor. I spend almost everyday teaching people how to do their new job. Many of them are intimidated by the job, have no confidence in their abilities, and have no idea what to do to succeed. And when I'm done with them the have so much confidence in themselves and feel like they have overcome everything to succeed. It gives me a true sense of pride to know I was able to help them. Thats the true reward. It's the same feeling I get when helping someone sell their home or purchase a new one. For me, it's really all about the people. Don't get me wrong, getting a paycheck is always nice and I'm not going to lie and say I'd do this job for free. I wouldn't. It is A LOT of work. Just like I wouldn't be in the military for free, yet I still enjoy my job. But honestly, the biggest reward is the piece of mind I bring to my clients. I come across many Realtors on a daily basis and so many of them say things the ultimately boil down to wanting a paycheck. I think so many of them forget that their paychecks are connected to people's lives and it's the people they should most worry about.

I just wanted to take some time to share with you Sergeant Real Estate's philosophy on being a Realtor in Ocean Springs / Biloxi MS.

Blog Done. Carry On!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Types of Realtor and Client relationships

What is a buyers agent? A buyers agent is just that, they are representing the buyer. Their whole purpose is to help their client find the right house for them. You better believe they are looking out for their clients best interest, not yours. So if you are a FSBO (for sale by owner) seller and an agent approaches you and asks to show someone your property (in return they will probably ask you to pay them 3% for bringing you a buyer) they are working as a buyers agent. Buyers agents are a great tool for the home buyer to use though. The best part for the buyer is its FREE!!! The sellers have to pay your buyers agent, is that a great deal or what?? Most people love to use Realtors as buyers agents when they buy a home, but why are they so reluctant when they sell?

What is a sellers agent? A sellers agent is the Realtor that represents you when you are selling your home. Remember how good of a job your Realtor did for you as a buyers agent? So why do most people shy away from Realtors when it comes to selling. The honest answer, people think they can save money if they do. Did you read my blog on "Are Realtors worth the money?" I recommend it. They are responsible for marketing your property. Which sounds like an easy thing. But if you think that all that takes is putting an ad in the paper and have an open house, think again. Or better yet, read my blog on "Biloxi FSBO (for sale by owner) mistakes."
Just like with a buyers agent, the sellers agents purpose is to look out for their clients best interests. I have a philosophy, if you look at clients as a paycheck you will always be chasing a paycheck; but, if you take care of people the money will eventually come. That's how I treat my clients. I'm looking out for you. Sorry got off on a tangent. That pretty much sums up a sellers agent.

But what is disclosed dual agent? This usually works like this and this is how I explain it. Lets say after I have listed your property mister seller, a gentlemen calls me because he saw my sign in your yard, or ad in the paper, or TV ad or whatever. He says to me "I love that house, I don't care how much it is, I want to buy it right now. Where do I sign?" Wouldn't you want me to get him a contract and sell your house to him? Naturally you say yes. Well Mr Seller, when that happens I would then become a disclosed dual agent because now I represent both of you. The good news is I'm still going to be looking out for your best interests, but I will also now do the same for him. But I can't tell him anything that would be detrimental to your position nor can I tell you anything that would hinder his negotiating position. Also, if another agent in my office sells your home as a buyers agent for another client, we would become a dual agency. The reason being is because we are still under the same brokerage. I hope that all makes sense.

As a final note, regardless of the relationship you and your agent have they owe you certain rights. We call these fiduciary responsibilities. They are as follows;

Loyalty- means your agent is looking out for your best interests

Obedience- means your agent has to obey your lawful instructions.
Disclosure- means your agent will tell you everything they know about the property, the situation or whatever it may be that will help you.

Confidentiality- means that anything you tell your agent is told in confidence and will not be shared with the public. ie, your going through divorce, your spouse died, you have to move by next month, or you are willing to pay 3 times what the house is listed for, etc. The agent protects their clients interest.

Reasonable care and diligence-means your agent will use their skill and education to take care of you throughout your transaction and be there as a guide throughout the process.

Accounting- means your agent will carefully and diligently handle all moneys or entrusted documents you place into their care.

I hope this has shed some light on the types of relationship you and your agent may experience.
Remember the perfect agent for you is the one that takes care of your needs and you feel comfortable with.

Blog Done, Carry On!!

Friday, February 9, 2007

First Time Home Buyers; "How much home can I afford?"

Many first time home buyers don't understand all of the expenses associated with purchasing a home. Most people think "I'll just have to make a loan payment, that's all." Not true. You also have to pay taxes and insurance yearly, these are typically escrowed into your payments. I know as a first time home buyer I didn't understand any of this. The average home owners' monthly payments includes principle, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI).

A good rule of thumb is this; the total of your PITI should be no more than 28% of your gross (before taxes) income. Many times on bank websites they will have calculators to help you "estimate" what your monthly payments will be. These estimates only include your principle and interests, not your taxes and insurance. And believe me, those two things can make your $800 dollar "estimated" payments become $1100 dollar, or more, actual payments. This doesn't include possible private mortgage insurance (PMI) that lenders require if your loan to value ratio is too high. Many first time home buyers have never heard of this.

Bottom line here is this first time home buyers; buying a home isn't rocket science but it does require some research and understanding of all the details associated with the transaction. My recommendation is to ask a Realtor for help. We don't just find you homes to look at, we educate you on the market, the procedures, the terms, and numerous other things in order to look out for your best interests. The real estate world is full of sharks who love to swallow up any new comers. As a first-time-home-buyer you should demand your Realtor educate you about the buying process and owning a home.

In summary, there are many things a first time home buyer needs to know when purchasing. You could waste countless days researching trying to figure out what it is you don't know or you could spend a few hours with a good Realtor and learn from a friend. I hope this helps you out.

If you would like more first time home buyer tips go to my website and click on "Contact Me," leave your contact info and I'll be in contact with you within 24 hours.
Blog done, Carry on!!