My mom always told me there are three rules to buying real estate. Location, location, location! And I would have to agree with her, but because I am looking from out of town I also think finding the right realtor to work with is next. When searching for the perfect second home in Oxford, it's important to make sure you are working with a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent. Today, I want to share with you my top 7 questions to help me find the right realtor for me and to make the process a little less overwhelming.
1. Ask for comps of particular area of interest
The value of any given property is often determined by similar homes in the same neighborhood. See what these houses were sold for in the last 12 months to make sure your budget matches up. You want to make sure you're getting the house of your dreams, with a pretty price to match!
2. What areas do you see the most traffic?
Is a particular neighborhood or area in Oxford booming? If so, the value of the home you want to buy might increase sooner rather than later. A home in the heart of Oxford, the square, will probably be the most expensive because of the proximity to local restaurants and shops. On the other hand, a home a few miles from the square and Ole Miss campus will likely cost less and allow for more privacy. Your realtor should be able to help you with these questions, but make sure and do your own research, too.
3. How long have you been in real estate?
Your realtor may have received their license or started selling real estate full-time 4 or 5 years ago, but may have been working in real estate in Oxford over the past 19 or 20 years in another outlet - so they are much more qualified than someone who just graduated from college or recently moved to Oxford. The longer they have been in the real estate business, the more experience and familiar they are with particular areas and properties in Oxford.
4. Where have you sold properties in Oxford?
Are the most popular homes your realtor sells a five minute walk from The Square, off of highway 6, or close to Ole Miss campus? The more properties your realtor has sold in a specific area, the more knowledgeable they are about who your neighbors might be, inform you if the property is run by a community association, and answer any specific questions you may have about the area.
5. What types of properties are customers buying as their second home?
Do you have customers purchase brand-new homes, or purchase resale properties? Are customers purchasing condos and townhomes or single family homes? Cost, location, and having the ability to build a personalized home are all things to consider when purchasing new construction homes vs resale. Condos and townhomes have less privacy than a single family home, but belonging to a community and having access to a homeowners association means less responsibility to deal with the upkeep on your own. Single family homeowners are required to keep up with all of their properties maintenance.
6. Do you work as an individual or on a team?
Many realtors have teammates or assistants. These people might be tasked with doing some research on your property or communicating with you via phone or email. It’s better to know on the front end if you will be dealing with anyone other than the main realtor you initially contacted. Besides, what are the odds you will answer a no caller number trying to call you? Probably slim.
7. What is your commission?
Generally, 6% is the total commission on a real estate transaction, split between seller’s agent and buyer’s agent. This could be negotiated down if the realtor is willing to reduce their commission by 1% to make the sale happen, but that is usually a last resort.
8. How can I receive in-state tuition for my student?
The process of receiving in-state tuition for a student includes filling out an application and requires multiple documents in order to be considered a Mississippi resident. According to the Ole Miss Office of the Registrar, if the student is a minor (less than 21) the parent or guardian must obtain a Mississippi license, registering your car in the state and getting a Mississippi license plate, and registering to vote. Students 22 and older must have lived in the state for 12 continuous months, after their 21st birthday. The university does not accept rent, leases, property deeds or utility bills as acceptable forms of residency. A list of acceptable documents to show physical presence in Mississippi can be found at the Universities Office of the Registrars website. Just having a property in Mississippi does not grant someone in-state residency and tuition.
Having all these questions in mind when choosing a realtor will help you find the perfect agent that will meet all of your needs and wants. Purchasing a second home is exciting and shouldn't cause you an immense amount of stress! Remember, no question is a dumb one and make sure to tell your potential realtors everything on your wishlist, before making a decision on which realtor to choose.